Students with Learning Disabilities at Risk of Dropping out of School

For most students, it takes some effort to earn good grades. But students with learning disabililties must work even harder than the average student to do well in school. In fact, a new study finds that children with learning and attention issues are three times more likely to drop out of school than students who don’t have these issues.

Common Learning and Attention Issues

According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), about one in five children have learning issues that make it difficult for them to master reading, writing, and mathematics. Others may find it hard to learn social skills, motor skills, listening comprehension, and focus.

Some of the most common learning and attention issues include:

  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia—Troubles with math
  • Dysgraphia—Difficulties with writing
  • Dyspraxia—Troubles with motor skills

Each of these conditions presents unique challenges for students. For example, ADHD makes it difficult for students to pay attention and focus on tasks. The condition can also make children hyperactive and impulsive, which can create disturbances for other students.

Dyscalculia can make it hard for students to learn concepts like place value, number lines, positive and negative numbers, and operator symbols such as the addition and subtraction symbols. It’s important that parents and teachers understand students with learning disabilities, like dyscalculia, face special challenges in the classroom. Simply studying more is not the solution because these students’ brains process letters, words, and mathematical symbols differently than other students.

Students’ Learning Needs Vary

Flexible learning environments may help students with learning challenges succeed. Unfortunately, not all schools take the necessary steps to put students with learning and attention issues on the path to success.

The classrooms and curricula of traditional public schools tend to focus on the needs of average children, which means they may miss the needs of children with learning disabilities and attention issues.

Schools can make small changes to help students with learning challenges become more successful. For instance, children with dyscalculia can often perform mathematics successfully when they get to:

  • Use their fingers and scratch paper while solving problems
  • Write on graph paper to keep lines organized
  • Use colored pencils to differentiate problems
  • Draw pictures of word problems

The interventions that work will differ from student to student, but dedicated parents and teachers can usually find strategies that help children be more successful in school.

Why Personalized Learning Tools Are Important

Nationally, about 5.9 percent of students drop out of high school. But among children with learning and attention issues, about 18 percent drop out of school. When students drop out of school, they are more likely to earn low wages and have high stress.

When students with learning and attention issues are given tools that help them adapt to their individual challenges, they are better able to thrive in school and in life. If they can earn better grades in school, then they won’t feel as much anxiety about attending class, which means they’re more likely to earn the diplomas that will help them succeed in their careers.

Not all schools meet the needs of all students, but it’s important that parents ensure their children receive the appropriate tools they need to learn. If your child is not receiving the help that he needs to succeed academically, consider alternative school options, such as virtual schools, which offer personalized online education for students in kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school. Visit for more information.

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