Learning disabilities (LDs) are real. They affect the brain's ability to receive, process, store, respond to, and communicate information. LDs are actually a group of disorders, not a single disorder.
Learning disabilities are not the same as intellectual disabilities (formerly known as mental retardation), sensory impairments (vision or hearing) or autism spectrum disorders. People with LD are of average or above-average intelligence but still struggle to acquire skills that impact their performance in school, at home, in the community and in the workplace.
Learning disabilities can affect a person's ability in the areas of:
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) improves the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact.
Since 1963, Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has provided support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals. At the national, state and local levels, LDA provides cutting edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions, and a comprehensive network of resources. These services make the Learning Disabilities Association of America the leading resource for information on learning disabilities.
Learning Disabilities Basics
This page provides definitions, areas of difficulty, and symptoms
Area of Difficulty: Processing language
Symptoms include trouble with: Reading, writing, spelling
Example: Confusing letter names and sounds, difficulties blending sounds into words, slow rate of reading, trouble remembering after reading text
Area of Difficulty: Math skills
Symptoms include trouble with: Computation, remembering math facts, concepts of time and money
Example: Difficulty learning to count by 2s, 3s, 4s, poor mental math skills, problems with spatial directions
Area of Difficulty: Written expression
Symptoms include trouble with: Handwriting, Spelling, Composition
Examples: Illegible handwriting, difficulty organizing ideas for writing
Area of Difficulty: Fine motor skills
Symptoms include trouble with: Coordination, manual dexterity
Example: Trouble with scissors, buttons, drawing
Information Processing Disorders
Auditory Processing Disorder
Area of Difficulty: Interpreting auditory information
Symptoms include trouble with: Language development, reading
Example: Difficulty anticipating how a speaker will end a sentence
Visual Processing Disorder
Area of Difficulty: Interpreting visual information
Symptoms include trouble with: Reading, writing, math
Example: Difficulty distinguishing letters line “n” and “h”
Adapted from “What are Learning Disabilities?” by the NCLD Editorial Team at www.ncld.org
F.A.T. (Frustration/Anxiety/Tension) City
This series of seven excerpts from LD Training Workshops provide insight into what it feels like to be a student with a learning disability
The FAT City Workshops provide a unique insight into the experiences of students with disabilities. The experts include the following topics:
Two sessions on reading comprehension
Reading and decoding
Misunderstood Minds profiles a variety of learning problems and expert opinions. It is designed to give parents and teachers a better understanding of learning processes, insights into difficulties, and strategies for responding.
This link is a companion site to the 90 video, Misunderstood Minds, but it is an well-done and informative stand-alone resource. Use the navigation link on the left for information on attention, reading, writing, and math. To learn more about disabilities in each of these areas impact learning, click on the "Try-It."