What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a neurological disorder.
Learning disabilities result from a difference in the way a person's brain is "wired." Individuals impacted by learning disabilities are as smart or often smarter than their peers. They may however have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.
A learning disability cannot be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong issue. With the right support and intervention, however, success in school and careers can be attained.
Learning disabilities are not the result of economic disadvantage, environmental factors, or cultural differences.
Not all great minds think alike
Did you know that Albert Einstein could not read until he was nine?
Walt Disney, General George Patton, and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller had trouble reading all their lives. Whoopi Goldberg and Charles Schwab and many others have learning disabilities, which have not affected their ultimate success.
Facts about learning disabilities
Difficulty with basic reading and language skills are the most common learning disabilities. As many as 80% of students with learning disabilities have reading problems.
Learning disabilities often run in families.
Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities such as autism, intellectual disability, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders
Attention disorders, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities often occur at the same time, but the two disorders are not the same.
Common learning disabilities
Is a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words This may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder.
Is a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.
Is a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space.
Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders
Are sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty-understanding language despite normal hearing and vision.
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities
Is a neurological disorder, which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions.
Common signs of a learning disabilities
Parents are often the first to notice "something doesn't seem right." If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities, you will be able to recognize potential problems early. The following is a checklist of characteristics that may point to a learning disability. It is normal to see one or more of these signs however, you see several of these characteristics over a long period, there may be a learning disability present.
Speaks later than most children
Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
Difficulty rhyming words
Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes
Extremely restless and easily distracted
Trouble interacting with peers
Difficulty following directions or routines
Fine motor skills slow to develop
Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =)
Slow to remember facts
Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
Impulsive, difficulty planning
Unstable pencil grip
Trouble learning about time
Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents
Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)
Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
Avoids reading aloud
Trouble with word problems
Difficulty with handwriting
Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
Avoids writing assignments
Slow or poor recall of facts
Difficulty making friends
Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions
High School Students and Adults
Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
Avoids reading and writing tasks
Trouble with open-ended questions on tests
Weak memory skills
Difficulty adjusting to new settings
Poor grasp of abstract concepts
Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much