Can Someone with a High IQ Have a Learning Disability?
The terms “Learning Disability” and “High IQ” seem exclusive and contradictory to each other. It is typically assumed that learning things fast is always an automatic implication of a higher level of intelligence. However, the fact is quite the opposite.
Research reveals that in the US, about 14% of the intellectually gifted children suffer from learning disabilities. As parents and teachers, we need to understand the difference between the two so that an otherwise intelligent child with learning disabilities is not left unrecognized and misunderstood.
What is Learning Disability?
Learning Disability or LD is a kind of disorder involved with the basic process of understanding written or spoken language. It is neither an abnormality nor a condition described by lack of attention. Your kid might be doing pretty well in everything and yet, be suffering from LD.
These problems are usually hard to recognize and become apparent in reading, writing, speaking, and language-related activities. The causes of this problem remain uncertain though genetics or childbirth-related issues may play a role in this.
Learning Disability Does Not Imply Low IQ
Children with LD are usually restless. They tend to get confused with letters, demonstrate very slow vocabulary growth, tend to misread information and even avoid reading and writing activities. These signs during the preschool years are considered to be pointing towards the low IQ of the child. This, however, is nothing but a misconception.
Children with learning disabilities have their mental machinery functioning as smooth as any other. They are able to use their brains and do everything that any other child can do. It is just that their brains are organized in a unique way. This organization makes it difficult for them to process, store, receive and retrieve information. Unfortunately, this lack of the ability to communicate information becomes an obstacle in their way to being successful in school education.
Identifying Intelligent Kids with Learning Disabilities
Children possessing high intelligence with a difficulty in learning are quite common. As such, this phenomenon is referred to as GLD, meaning Gifted with a Learning Disability. When a child is unable to read, write and communicate properly, his or her intellectual giftedness gets ignored. This is why, identifying the problem early on is a dire necessity.
Inconsistency in academic progress that goes unexplained is the most important sign of this problem. If a child is excelling in multiple choice tests or subjects like Mathematics but is unable to write an answer on a blank page, chances are that he or she is suffering from LD.
This identification process may get a little more difficult at times. For instance, for children who are not considered intellectually gifted and demonstrate average progress in their academics. They might still be suffering from LD and if the condition was recognized, they could actually perform far better due to their abilities.
Similarly, there are many children who are already being treated for a learning disability but their intellectual giftedness goes unrecognized. When this happens, the child is not given enough opportunity to try things in which he/she might excel.
The implications of a lack of identification can be far- reaching and dangerous. Over the years, if not treated well, a child might end up growing with a complete lack of confidence in general.
Teachers often misinterpret the GLD children to be lazy and unwilling and even rebuke them for not completing assignments. All these practices lead to the children feeling frustrated, tired and desperate to prove themselves. Such pressure on developing minds with immense scope is certainly undesirable.
Helping Intelligent Children with Learning Disabilities
As a teacher or parent, the first thing you can do is keep the child motivated at all times. Learning disabilities can be easily treated with special classroom and teaching methods. You must always keep in mind that child should not be left to feel down at any point nor should he or she be compared to their friends for not performing equally well in academics.
In many schools, there are different instructors for the high IQ students and other special teachers who impart instructions, particularly to the LD affected students. These two roles may be merged with each other. This will help to ensure that each child is recognized for what they’re good at.
Another good practice is to cultivate the intelligent aspect of such children by encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities where they’re able to realise their real potential.
Learning disability has nothing to do with intelligence levels and the earlier this problem is identified, the better it is for the children who suffer from it.
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