You’ve heard these words and feared them: dyslexia, dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). They are all examples of common learning disabilities that interfere with basic skills such as reading, writing, and math. Those who are diagnosed can find it hard to make judgments or be in a social setting, or they have problems with planning and organization, and the concept of time.

Early intervention is crucial to help a child with a learning disability. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed because many parents refuse to acknowledge that their children suffer from a learning disability. Many are even embarrassed to seek a professional opinion.

“People dismiss learning disabilities as a culture thing,” explains Cynthia Tinsay-Gonzalez, owner and administrator of Reach International School, an inclusive academic institution that caters to regular students and students with learning disabilities and special needs. “[Some] parents tend to make excuses for the child — ‘bata pa ‘yan’ or ‘lalaki kasi ‘yan kaya late.'”

But how can a parent know if a professional evaluation is needed? Tinsay-Gonzalez has five questions to ask yourself:

1. How are his emotional and behavioral responses at home and school?
Kids with learning disabilities may behave differently or inappropriately when faced with a problem or task, compared to you or a kid his age. He can be easily frustrated, finds it difficult to get along with his peers, or show poor social judgment. If the consistency in his behavior is the same and present at home and school — it doesn’t feel like he’s just going through a stage — then it may be time to consult a developmental pediatrician.

2. Does he prefer playing with kids who are younger than him?


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