Learning Differences

Children with hemiplegia or hemiparesis may develop learning differences. There have been few long-term follow-up studies of cognitive development in children with early stroke. Children with hemiplegia may be in traditional classroom settings, pulled out for special resource classes, receive assistance in class from an aide, and/or attend a special education class.

Types of Learning Differences Experienced by Children with Hemiplegia as Reported by Parents

  • Reading
  • Math
  • Dyslexia
  • Nonverbal learning disability (NVLD)
  • Difficulty “reading” other people
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD)

NLD on the Web!

Non-verbal Learning Disabilities:   An Emerging Profile

Understanding Nonverbal Learning Disability

Social Thinking(R)

Reading Tips from Parents of Children with Hemiplegia

  • Book Recommendation:  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
  • Inquire about the number of minutes your child is receiving reading instruction. Children who have IEP and goals in reading should be receiving more reading instruction than their peers. Watch that your child is not taken out of their core instruction class (the instruction that peers receive) to receive supplemental support. You may want to insure that the reading IEP minutes are in addition to those already provided in the general education setting.
  • It’s important to dicover the specifics about the cause of your child’s reading problem. This will help guide your choice of reading programs. Find a program that addresses your child’s specific reading challenge.
  • Temporal Sequencing is one type of reading problem.
  • Children with hemiplegia may have memory problems. Assess whether these problems are auditory, visual, or a mixture of both. If your child has auditory memory problems, then having a teacher or program that relies mainly on auditory teaching can be a disaster.
  • Ask if the school has a reading specialist.
  • Model the left to write movement of reading. Have your child physically touch each letter sound as she says it.

IQ Testing Tips from Parents of Children with Hemiplegia

  • Because children with hemiplegia may have multiple secondary disabilities, IQ testing can be difficult. Some of the tests rely on quick and/or accurate motor skills. An example of this is the subtest that requires a child to use blocks. If a child has a low score on this portion of the test, is it because they don’t have the cognition to understand how to do it, the motor planning to make it work, or simply the motor skills to assemble the blocks without koncking the other blocks down?
  • Some children with hemiplegia may receive a diagnosis of a mild intellectual disability. This label will govern the expectationso f the school and specialists, so make certain that you feel confident in the person who is administering the test.

Other Resources

Fair Test – The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.

LD Online

Council for Learning Disabilities

National Association of School Psychologists

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)

Wright’s Law

Journal Articles

Late Emergence of Cognitive Deficits After Unilateral Neonatal Stroke - Twenty-six children with history of unilateral neonatal stroke were given IQ tests as preschoolers and again in grade school. As preschoolers, their IQ was the same as children who had not experienced a stroke. As grade-school children, 69 percent of the children showed significant declines in one or more IQ index measures. The cognitive weaknesses in children with neonatal stroke were mild in general with a mean full-scale IQ median at school age of 94.5, within the normal IQ range.These findings suggest that children with unilateral neonatal stroke, particularly males, are at increased risk for problems with higher-level cognitive skills during the school years. The authors recommend continued follow-up of these children, even those with no apparent problems as toddlers or preschoolers. May 2009. Canada.

Early Cognitive Outcome After Neonatal Stroke Sept. 2007. Canada.

Cognitive Outcome of Children with Early-Onset Hemiparesis - Overall, the 37 participants showed impairment in many cortical functions and diffuse cognitive delay compared to other children. Factors which seem to significantly predict cognitive outcome are the side of lesion, active epilepsy, and male gender.  2000. Estonia.

A Teenager with Hemiplegia and Learning Disability