One of the most important roles of a preschool teacher is being able to recognize the different learning levels of the children they teach. If a child has a certain learning disability then the teacher can successfully prepare the child for their transition into kindergarten.
It is often more difficult to distinguish a learning disability such as ADHD from the normal boisterous behavior that is common in small children. Early identification of a learning disability such as ADHD, however, can make the world of difference in a child’s education and everyday life. If this condition is identified and managed early in the child’s development, it can make a significant impact on the social, behavioral, and learning challenges that are associated with the condition.
There are a few common signs and behaviors that preschool teachers can be aware of to help them identify learning disabilities in young children. Teachers should always share these observations or concerns with the parents so that they can seek specialist support, if needed, early on.
Language & Speech
- Late development in talking in comparison to other children of a similar age.
- Problems with certain word pronunciation.
- Slow development in learning new words and vocabulary growth.
- Difficulty with finding the correct words to use.
- Difficulty understanding rhyming words.
- Difficulty following directive instructions.
- Difficulty with understanding how to respond to simple questions.
- Inattentive during storytelling.
Literacy Skills & Cognition
- Slower in naming colors and objects.
- Difficulty connecting letters and sounds.
- Difficulty memorizing and learning the alphabet.
- Low interest in matching pictures with words.
- Difficulty learning to count.
- Learning shapes, colors and size is a challenge.
- Trouble with remembering a routine and understanding days of the week.
- Lack of balance.
- Fine motor skills such and manipulating small objects, such as tying shoes, is a challenge.
- Clumsiness and limited hand-eye co-ordination.
- Delayed gross motor skills such as difficulty with running, jumping, or climbing.
- Drawing, tracing or coloring is a challenge and is avoided.
- Shyness and wanting to avoid playing with others.
- Easily and visibly frustrated.
- Difficulty following directions or listening.
- Unwarranted temper tantrums.
Attention & Behavior
- Easily distracted.
- Consistently hyperactive.
- Extremely impulsive.
- Changing an activity or disrupting a routine is a challenge.
Preparing For Kindergarten
Sometimes, children with learning disabilities are not prepared enough for the transition from preschool to kindergarten. This is because the learning disabilities are either not picked up by the teachers and parents, or the children are not given the right tools to have a successful transition.
With the help of education and research around learning disabilities in young children today, there are a number of tools and materials available that both the teachers and parents can use to facilitate a child’s progression into kindergarten. Many preschool teachers today are trained to use these various tools and materials and are able to share this information with parents.
In some cases, parents can make the decision to keep their child in preschool for a year longer before sending them off to kindergarten. Parents can also make the decision to send their children to a school that specializes in teaching children with learning disabilities. Parents will then have the opportunity to share their children’s learning challenges with the kindergarten teachers so they can make the necessary preparations. It is also a good idea for the parents to prepare their child as much as possible by introducing them to their new school, and teachers, well before they are expected to start there full time. This will really help make the transition a lot easier for everyone involved.
It is important for parents to remember that there are many options available for children with learning disabilities and it’s always better to identify these disabilities during early childhood development so that parents can work with teachers to make the appropriate educational decisions for the child.
Providence Children’s Academy prides itself in having top quality preschool teachers that parents can depend on. It is our promise to put the children’s needs first and to always assist our parents in the best way we can.