Learning disabilities are neurological differences in processing information that severely limit a person’s ability to learn in a specific skill area as the brain processes, understands, and uses information in a differnt manner. Everyone has differences in learning abilities, but people with learning disabilities have severe problems that persist throughout their lives. There is no “cure” for learning disabilities. Special education programs can help people cope and compensate for these disorders.
Learning disabled people may have difficulty in school or on the job. These disabilities are usually first noticed when children begin to fail in school. Parents and preschool teachers are often the first to see early signs as children may have difficulty learning basic skills in understanding reading. Difficulty writing, math, or language may also signal a problem.
Some students may easily learn basic skills but have difficulty applying skills in problem solving or higher level school work.The diagnosis is reassuring because it leads to additional support in school through specially trained teachers and special education programs. Students with learning disabilities will also have individual education programs developed to address their needs with specially designed instruction based on each child’s unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
People with learning disabilities are actually as intelligent as their peers. It is even possible to have a learning disability and be gifted as well. The actual difference is that people with learning disabilities learn differently and may need a variety of instructional practices to learn effectively.
Are Learning Disabilities Biological?
True learning disabilities (LDs) are believed to resulting from neurological processing problems that cause difficulty with learning and applying skills in one or more academic areas. Evidence suggests that a child’s chances of having a learning disability increase when parents or other relatives also have learning disabilities. This suggests that heredity may play a role in some cases.
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Specific learning disabilities
These are a group of disabilities outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This federal legislation defines specific learning disabilities as a group of disorders in a number of different areas. The term “learning disability” is often used interchangeably with the term “learning disorder.” Both terms refer to the same sorts of problems.
Examples of Learning Disabilities .
An individual can have one learning disability or multiple learning disabilities. Early detection and intervention is key to prevent a learning disability from derailing a student in class. The following learning disabilities commonly affect students. • Learning disabilities of expressive language, also called oral expression; • Learning disabilities of receptive language, also called listening comprehension; • Learning disabilities of basic writing mechanics; • Learning disabilities of written expression; • Learning disabilities of basic reading decoding; • Learning disabilities of reading comprehension; • Learning disabilities of basic math calculation skills; and • Learning disabilities of applied math and problem solving.
Learning disabilities may include several types of disorders. Dyslexia, for example, is included with learning disabilities in reading under the IDEA. Dysgraphia is included with learning disabilities in writing, and dyscalculia is included in learning disabilities in math. Other Kinds of Learning Disabilities Learning disabilities may also involve disorders or syndromes such as developmental aphasia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or Tourette’s syndrome. ADHD is arguably among the most well known of these disorders. It can cause children to have trouble focusing, sitting still or to behave in manners that are disruptive. Like other disorders, ADHD affects children in different ways. Not all children with this disorder may experience learning difficulties as a result.
The Role of Other Disabilities
Specific learning disabilities are not typically diagnosed when other primary disabling conditions such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor disabilities, mental retardation or emotional disturbances are present. Further, students whose academic weaknesses are caused by environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage are not typically diagnosed with learning disabilities unless there is evidence the disability is not related to these factors and the child has received appropriate educational intervention.
All children have strengths and weaknesses.
Just because a child is weak in one area does not mean that she has a learning disorder. Moreover, all children develop at different paces. Many people with learning disorders go on to college, earn advanced degrees and become successful adults.
Further, students whose academic weaknesses are caused by environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage are not typically diagnosed with learning disabilities unless there is evidence the disability is not related to these factors and the child has received appropriate educational intervention.
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