With learning disabilities and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), early detection and intervention are vital to effective treatment. For example, a child with a reading disorder that is detected and treated in the second grade will make much greater academic progress than a child with a reading disorder that is not treated until the fourth grade. One of the main reasons is that the fourth-grade child will likely have fallen much farther behind in school than the second-grade child.
The following symptoms of auditory processing problems could be precursors of a reading disability or a language disability:
• Experiencing hearing difficulties despite having normal hearing sensitivity.
• Being easily distracted by background sounds.
• Not following multiple instructions.
• Taking longer to comprehend simple spoken directions.
• Occasionally misconstruing what is said.
• Exhibiting problems with phonemic awareness, beyond what is age- or grade-
The following symptoms of problems with attention, concentration and controlling behaviors could signal the onset of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:
• Not paying close attention to detail; making careless mistakes in schoolwork.
• Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks.
• Not seeming to listen when spoken to directly.
• Having trouble following through with instructions; not finishing homework or
• Often losing things necessary to complete homework or other activities.
• Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
• Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in seat.
• Often acting as if “driven by a motor.”
The following symptoms are characteristic of processing problems which could be precursors of a nonverbal learning disability (e.g., mathematics disability). All of the difficulties listed below are beyond what is age- or grade-expected:
• Difficulties understanding or naming mathematical terms, operations or
• Problems recognizing or reading numerical symbols or arithmetic signs,
and clustering objects into groups.
• Difficulties translating word problems into mathematical symbols.
• Problems performing visual-spatial tasks.
• Difficulties with simultaneous processing of information.