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The COVID Classroom: Learning Disability, Depression or ???

Posted at 6:11 PM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 18:11:27-05

ORLANDO, Fla. — Last year, more than seven million kids or 14 percent of all public school students were being treated for a learning disability.

But now, an unexpected consequence of the coronavirus may see an increase in kids being tested for everything from ADHD to dyslexia.

It’s been months since classrooms closed and parents took over teaching. But with mom and dad focused on their child’s education, there’s a surprising trend as kids head back to school. Parents are questioning whether or not their children have a learning disability.

The main conditions parents are concerned about are ADHD, dyslexia, and nonverbal learning disability.

“That's where more visual, spatial skills are impaired,” said Wilfred Van Gorp, PhD, a Neuropsychologist.

Meanwhile, kids with ADHD struggle with focus.

“One can be quietly inattentive,” said Van Gorp. They may be easily distracted and make excuses to get up and move. Meanwhile, with dyslexia, not only does the child have trouble reading, young children might have trouble learning nursery rhymes then have trouble memorizing things in the right order.

But Dr. Van Gorp says up to 30 percent of children who are tested for any one of these don’t have a learning disability at all. “The other leading explanation might be depression,” said Van Gorp.

Due to the COVID lockdown and isolation, they’re bored, they’re lonely and they are having trouble concentrating.

If your child is showing any of these signs, it’s imperative to get them help immediately.

For any and all of these conditions, the first step for parents is to talk to their pediatrician.

They can connect you with child mental health experts. Parents can also undergo parent management training, where psychologists teach parents strategies to help their children.