Autism, Intellectual Disability & Learning Disability – How To Tackle Them?

Autism, Intellectual Disability & Learning Disability – How To Tackle Them?


By Dr. T Santhanam, Psychology

Childhood disorders are identified as the developmental and mental disorders that hinder the learning and intellectual capabilities of a child. These disorders are identified in a spectrum of disorders which include Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Cerebral Palsy, etc.

Learning disorders such as ADHD, Dyslexia, etc., are seen after the child is born; however, developmental disorders such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Speech Disorder, etc., can begin in the foetus and appear as the child develops.

One can identify if the child has learning or intellectual disorder by recognising the normal developmental milestone of a child. Identifying the difference between the development of a normal pre-schooler or a toddler and the development of a disabled child can help in the early detection of any problems.

Learning Disability Assessment

Learning disabilities in a child are recognized when the child has problems in receiving and processing the normal piece of information. Such children have problems in reading, writing, reasoning, speaking, and listening.

Learning disabilities are different from one child to another. It is not easy to catch a learning disability in a child, as it develops in a wide spectrum.

Some of the common types of learning disabilities are:

  • Dyslexia: Difficulty in reading, writing, speaking, and spelling
  • Dysgraphia: Problems with writing, spelling, and organizing ideas
  • Dyscalculia: Difficulty in understanding the money and time
  • Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder): Difficulty in hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and balance.
  • Dysphasia/Aphasia: Difficulty with understanding language
  • Visual Processing Disorder: Difficulty in understanding visual information such as reading text, maps, charts, pictures, symbols, etc.
  • Auditory Processing Disorder: Difficulty with hearing and identifying differences between sounds

There are some mental disorders that make learning process difficult in children. These include:

  • ADHD: This disorder is characterised by problems in staying still, being focused, being organised, and completing the homework.
  • Autism: This disorder is often characterised by the difficulty in understanding body language, trouble in communication, learning basic skill sets, making eye contact, and trouble in making friends.

Diagnosis of a Learning disability

Diagnosing an intellectual or learning disability is a process. One can start with the child’s school for help. Moreover, there are certain types of specialists that can help in testing and diagnosing the learning disabilities of a child. These include:

  • School Psychologists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Child Psychiatrists
  • Developmental Psychologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Psychometrists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists

There are times when different specialists coordinate as a team to comprehend a particular diagnosis. Based on the resulting diagnosis, the recommendation of a special school can be made for the child which has special services within the school system.


Learning and intellectual disabilities in a child can be seen during the developmental years due to different brain wiring. Children with learning disabilities face various kinds of difficulties in understanding language, behaviour, time, or any other information. They see and perceive such information differently. However, there are certain types of specialists that can help a child to learn and perceive various such information in an easy way.