12 Behavioral Traits of Students With Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities is one of the fields in special education that is historically significant.

The category of students were identified long after other categories of students with disabilities like mental retardation, visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical handicaps etc. have been already organized in schools and receiving functional services.

The primary feature of a learning disability is that it is a processing problem of the brain. Characteristics of learning disabilities can include the traits, signs, and symptoms of each learning disorder.

Therefore, What are the behavioral traits of students with learning disabilities? What is the most common characteristic of students with learning disabilities? The main behavioral traits of students with learning disabilities is having significant deficits in academic performance despite having an adequate intelligence. However, there are some of the common behavioral traits of students with learning disabilities.

12 Behavioral Traits of Students With Learning Disabilities

The observable behavioral characteristics of students with learning disabilities include the following:

  1. Hyperactivity
  2. Withdrawal syndrome
  3. Emotional instability
  4. Attention deficit
  5. Clumsiness/awkwardness
  6. Low frustration tolerance
  7. Perseveration
  8. Acting on impulse
  9. Perceptual motor impairments
  10. Poor cognitive information processing
  11. Poor academic achievement
  12. Differential intelligence

1. Hyperactivity

The common behavioral traits of students with learning disabilities is hyperactive. Majority of students with learning disabilities are hyperactive; they seem restless at all times.

Students with learning disabilities find it difficult to remain at a particular sport or engage in a particular activity for a long time.

Hyperactivity consists in excessive physical movements and shifting of attention from one thing to the other at very short intervals.

Hyperactive moments prevent such Student from learning, and they can also distract other Students in the classroom.

Hyperactive Student fidget a lot and there is a general involvement in unconscious active movements in hyperactive Students. In the classroom, they appear to be busier than their peers and this is at a level that will attract the teacher’s as well as their peers concern.

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2. Withdrawal Syndrome

Some Students with learning disabilities withdraw themselves from others in the same environment. Withdrawal syndrome is the habit or attitude of isolating or distancing from others.

When this becomes a regular occurrence, then has assumed a problematic dimension it is a problem. Students displaying such trait may refuse to join others in carrying out any activity in and outside the classroom. Such a student may doze off, while teaching and learning is going on in the classroom.

3. Emotional Instability

Emotional instability refers to an unbalanced emotional status. Some students with learning disabilities exhibit emotional outburst at unexpected times. They react negatively even when the situations does not warrant it. They display temper tantrums – one moment they may flare up; the next moment, they are sober or cheerful. Somebody meeting them for the first time would definitely conclude that their behaviour is unusual.

4. Attention Deficit/Short Attention Problems

Students with learning disabilities have short attention span. They are not able to listen or pay attention to a particular task or the teacher for a long time. They may not focus on the task, or content of instruction for a long time when a lesson is being presented. Every lesson may look cumbersome and appear impossible to them.

The consequence of this is that they get easily distracted. Any little noise in or outside the classroom is enough to shift their focus away from what they are being taught. In such a case, the teacher is likely to call on the child continuously in order to re-direct and bring back his or her attention to what is being taught.

5. Clumsiness and Awkwardness

Clumsiness and Awkwardness is another common behavioral traits of students with learning disabilities. Being clumsy is an indication of a poor spatial perception and orientation. Some students with learning disabilities are usually not always smart. They can easily break up things around them at home and at school.

There is always an inability to be mindful of objects around them, they do not know how to handle or take proper care of things, both at school and home. They always spill things on the floor; knock or hit their foot against a table or chair consistently etc. Students with learning disabilities can easily destroy things with ease even though they may show a remorse when this happens. This makes them to be seen as destructive individuals.

6. Low Frustration Tolerance

Low frustration tolerance is common among the behavioral traits of students with learning disabilities. Abandoning a task half way is always easy for students with learning disabilities. They are easily frustrated. They lose hope and give up trying an academic task or other skills related tasks easily. They do not show the strong will to try more or engage in regular practice in order to master a skill or task. Getting fed up easily with something occurs all the time that is why they are not pushing forward in the classroom, and this also occurs even at home.

7. Preservation

This is also referred to as attention fixation. That is, focusing attention on a particular task longer than is necessary. Students with learning disabilities often fix attention on trying to perform a particular task for a very long time without trying to let go. They may be doing it wrongly but still insist on continuing on that task. An example of attention fixation or preservation is when a child scribbles rough lines on his or her book or trying to write something, and he or she does this rigorous scribbling over and over again without wishing to stop. Even when the teacher tries to step that activity, the child would insist on carrying on.

8. Acting on Impulse

Students with learning disabilities often act on impulse. Acting on impulse occurs when one reacts to a stimulus without having any thought over it. Impulsive movements or reactions may appear too sudden to people around. At times students react in this is way to their peers without any reason for such.

An example of this is assuming a student wishes to write the letter ‘A’ in the exercise book. After many trials and the letter could not be formed successfully, the student can just tear his exercise book to pieces, throw away the pencil or even break the pencil into two or more pieces. This student can be without even looking at the teacher or anyone else.

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9. Perceptual Motor Impairments

Students with learning disabilities have problems of motor in coordination. They experience poor gross motor and fine motor coordination. This manifests poor eye-hand and general movement’s coordination. They may find it difficult to write or to copy things from the chalkboard into the exercise book. Most times, it appears as if their eyes wise in harmony with the hand.

In such cases; there will be an obvious poor performance of the task assigned. Students with such problems may not be able to catch balls in the air or actively engage in sporting activities. Perceptual problems can greatly retard the progress of students with learning disabilities in the classroom. Where a student is not able to perceive letters properly as a whole but sees them as separate entities, it becomes very difficult to pronounce or read.

10. Cognitive Information Processing

Cognitive information processing relates to the way an individual acquires, retains and manipulates information. This manifests in various ways in the processing of visual and auditory information.

Students with learning disabilities have problems of memorization. They find it difficult to recall past lessons or skills the teacher taught them.

This is why they are described as having short attention and memory span. They generally perform poorly on all memory tasks.

They lack organizational skills and they also find it difficult to develop an active learning style and strategies of directing their own learning, as a result of a lack of meta-cognitive functions.

11. Poor Academic Achievement

Students with learning disabilities have problems of low and very poor achievement in school.

Poor academic achievement is one of the reasons for the creation and development of this field. Anyone would know that something is definitely wrong somewhere. Not only are they performing below their peers; they also achieve below their potentials at very significant levels. This could be in any subject area or in all areas.

12. Differential Intelligence

Students with learning disabilities generally are described as having above-average or average intelligence. This is a major differentiating factor between the mildly retarded students and the learning disabled.

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