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Special needs

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Updated: 4/18/2007 9:12 am Published: 4/18/2007 9:12 am

It's estimated that up to 50 percent of children have some sort of learning disability. Their special educational needs should be addressed as soon as possible. Unless treated early, disabilities will keep a child from reaching his or her full potential. Worse yet, they may cause otherwise normal children to be labeled 'slow,' when in fact, they merely have a mild disability. Learning disabilities can affect even the brightest children. Sometimes they masquerade as a poor aptitude for a subject like math or foreign language. One sign of disability is when a child has trouble learning to read or write, or is at a loss to find words to express their thoughts, though they already have a large vocabulary. When children can't form letters correctly, they could have a condition called dysgraphia. Those with dyslexia have problems reading, because they see letters backwards, or in reverse order. To correct a learning disability, alternative teaching methods must be used. While early detection is crucial, learning disorders can be tough to identify. Therefore, it's best to consult an educational specialist right away. Ask your pediatrician for references, or contact the Independent Educational Counselors Association in Forestdale, Massachusetts

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