Barriers to learning usually involve impairments in cognition and learning, emotional, social and sensory factors, communication and interaction disabilities and behavioural and physical issues. Some children might have special needs in a single category; oftentimes an overlap exists in three or four sections. Identifying the barriers is important, because the sooner they are recognised the sooner remedial work can begin. Implementing remedial programs when a child is young increases the positive effects."
Watch the child's behaviour if you suspect cognitive or behavioural barriers to learning. Start a file. Note what happened -- and on which day -- to indicate that something may be wrong. Close the file if the situation corrects itself.
Listen to the child, and try to discern a hearing impairment. A hearing-impaired child typically slurs her words. She might not be able to hear questions unless you are directly in front of her and she can read your lips. Stand behind the child and say her name in a whisper, increasing the volume until she hears you.
Test the child in relation to what is expected at that stage of his development. Design your own assessment, or download standardised tests from the Internet for the learning barrier you want to assess.
Call in an expert if you suspect barriers to learning in your children or students. Request an assessment from someone who is qualified in the field.