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  • Ekaterina Fields

Learning Strategies for CDK13 Genetic Mutation and other SEN children

Updated: May 18


CDK13 children do Learning in a different way.

  • CDK13 children always take longer to learn, however they CAN learn. It takes more time, special strategies, perseverance and patience.

  • The developmental delay of the CDK13 children (compared to their unaffected peers) can increase over the years, but so does the progress they make, slowly but surely.

  • Writing: Some CDK13 children will not learn to write, no matter how much you show them how to do it, no matter if they read or speak the words, they cannot write them. There are several reasons, both physical and mental.

  • Physical reasons include muscle weakness and coordination difficulties. Muscle weakness, more prominent in younger children, improves over the years. How can you help? Practice. Occupational Therapy (OT) is brilliant for teaching young children to strengthen their hands. Difficulty with motor skills, i.e. coordination, also improves through OT, so don't give up!

  • Mental reasons of learning difficulties include:

  • Cognitive Visual Impairment (when the eyes see but the mind doesn't, not fully). A CVI specialist can assess your child and provide recommentations to the school; in London, Mr Richard Bowman at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children's Developmental Vision Clinic is the leading specialist in the area.

  • Dyslexia (when the child hears and sees the input, but it's too scrambled in their mind to absob it.). There are wel developped strategies for dyslexia that work very well. Please ask your school to assess your child for Dyslexia.

  • Autistic Spectrum: Many CDK13 children exhibit autistic traits, to various degrees. They do however usually make good eye contact and engage with others.

  • Input Processing: Check if your child is able to learn by hearing, seeing, or doing. These are called auditory, visual and kinaesthetic learning. All people are better at one than the other. If your CDK13 child doesn't benefit from video or verbal learning, try kinaesthetic learning, i.e. learning by movement. Writing can be greatly improved by using the "hand-over-hand prompting" technique, whereby an adult's hand is placed over the child's hand and provides gentle guidance to teach the child's brain how to form letters and words. The speed of the input processing is another important aspect of learning, and CDK13 children have a much slower processing speed. That means that they must be given more time to absorb any instructions or learning, and more time at any tests or exams.


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