The child presents with a serious delay in learning to read which is evident from the early years. The problems may include omissions, distortions or substitutions of words, long hesitations, a reversal of words or simply reading.
Writing and spelling are also impaired. It is important to differentiate the disorder from scholastic backwardness, there for a proper assessment is needed.
It is also called motor skill disorder, developmental coordination disorder, clumsy child syndrome or motor dysphagia. It is characterized by poor coordination in daily activities of life, for example in dressing, walking, feeding and playing. There is an inability to perform fine or gross motor tasks.
Specific disorder of speech and language (dysphasia)
There are three types
1. Phonological disorder (dyslalia)
It is characterized by below-par accuracy in the use of speech sounds despite normal language skills. The problem including severe articulations errors that make it difficult for others to understand the speech. Phones or speech sounds are omitted, distorted or substituted ( e.g.cart for caret, book for blue, etc..)
2. Expressive language disorder; It is characterised by a below par ability of using expressive speech. The problems include restricted vocabulary ,difficulty in selecting appropriate words, and immature grammatical usage. Cluttering of speech may also be present.
3. Receptive language disorder. The disorder often presents as a receptive – expressive language disorder and both impairments are present together. The disorder is characterized by a below-par understanding of language. Problems include failure to respond to simple instruction; It is obviously important to rule out deafness and pervasive developmental disorder.
Specific Mathematical Disorder (dyscalculia)
The child presents with mathematics abilities well below the level expected for the mental age. The problems may include failure to understand simple mathematical concepts. Failure to recognize mathematical signs or numerical symbols, difficulty in carrying out mathematical manipulation, and difficulty in learning mathematical tables.
The treatment of specific developmental disorders is based on learning theory principles and behavioral approaches. It involves the use of special remedial teaching, focusing on the underlying deficit ( eg: perceptual-motor training in motor skills disorders) The treatment of common co-morbid emotional problems is often necessary. Parental education and counseling are important components of good management.