Red Flags

Common Warning Signs/Red Flags for Learning Disabilities

Note: These warning signs vary with each child and all signs may not be present.
A very strong warning sign is any family history of learning disabilities/difficulty – they are genetic.

Red Flags for Children 2½-4 years of Age

Speaking– Trouble with articulation, persistently mispronounces words
                   – Trouble using correct verb tenses, plurals, or pronouns
Listening – Trouble rhyming, playing sound or word games
Word finding– Knows colors, but cannot name them when asked
Sequencing – Difficulty telling an event or story in order or sequence
Auditory memory  – Difficulty remembering multiple-step directions
Fine motor skills – Difficulty cutting with scissors, tying shoes, or blowing nose
Uncoordinated – Clumsy, messy eater, poor at skipping, trouble learning motor skills 
Sensory processing– Overreacts to or avoids sounds, touch, fabrics, foods, smells or lights

Red Flags for Children 5-8 years of Age

Speaking – Persistently mispronounces words, and slow word finding when talking
Phonological awareness – Misses or changes sounds in words that are heard, spoken, or read
Reading and Spelling – Difficulty learning to sound-out words for reading and spelling
                           – Relies on sight words, reading is slow, effortful, & unpleasant
Sequencing– Errors when reading – e.g. says “was” for saw; telling an event in order
Auditory memory – Difficulty following directions, learning phone number
Handwriting – Awkward pencil grip, presses too hard on paper when writing, hand fatigues
Focus  – Trouble concentrating at home and school; wears out before a task is done
Self-esteem– Repeated difficulties or frustrations lead to lower self-esteem

Red Flags for Children 9+ to Adults

Speaking – Persistently mispronounces words, and slow word finding when talking
Phonological awareness – Misses or changes sounds in words that are heard, spoken, or read
Reading – Slow; avoids it; relies on sight words; guesses and makes errors
Spelling– Poor spelling, poor memory after spelling test, mixes up letters in words
Writing– Avoids it; written sentences are short and poorly organized or ordered
Auditory memory – Difficulty following or remembering multiple-step directions,
                           – Difficulty remembering alphabet for phonebook or dictionary use
Handwriting – Effortful, messy, awkward grip, presses too hard on paper with pencil
Focus – Trouble concentrating; wears out before task is done; loses place on a page
Self-esteem – Increasing frustration and poor self-esteem
Language expression– Difficulty putting ideas in words and sequencing them appropriately
Foreign language – Trouble learning other languages, e.g. Spanish, French
Achievement tests – Much better at math than reading, poor performance on FCAT