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What Is Learning Disability?

A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence, often the individual's IQ falls within the normal range. The source of the difficulty is in the brain. Children and adults with a learning disorder have trouble processing sensory information which interferes in their daily activities at school and work. They see, hear and understand things differently. If left untreated, the challenges a learning disability creates can severely affect a child's school experience and self-esteem. However, treatment is available and can be successful even if the disability is identified in late childhood or adulthood.

The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) defines the term learning disability as:

"A heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and presumed to be due to Central Nervous System Dysfunction."

Some of the Learning Disabilities are

  • Poor performance on group tests
  • Difficulty discriminating size, shape, color
  • Difficulty with temporal (time) concepts
  • Distorted concept of body image
  • Reversals in writing and reading
  • General awkwardness
  • Poor visual-motor coordination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty copying accurately from a model
  • Slowness in completing work
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Easily confused by directions, instruction
  • Difficulty with abstract reasoning and/or problem solving
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Often perseverates on one topic or idea


Causes of Learning Disability

A learning disability is not indicative of low intelligence. Indeed, research indicates that some people with learning disabilities may have average or above-average intelligence. Causes of learning disabilities include a deficit in the brain that affects the processing of information.

Some of the Causes of Learning Disabilities are

  • Some children develop and mature at a slower rate than others in the same age group. As a result, they may not be able to do the expected school work. This kind of learning disability is called "maturational lag."
  • Some children with normal vision and hearing may misinterpret everyday sights and sounds because of some unexplained disorder of the nervous system.
  • Injuries before birth or in early childhood probably account for some later learning problems.
  • Children born prematurely and children who had medical problems soon after birth sometimes have learning disabilities.
  • Learning disabilities tend to run in families, so some learning disabilities may be inherited.
  • Learning disabilities are more common in boys than girls, possibly because boys tend to mature more slowly.
  • Some learning disabilities appear to be linked to the irregular spelling, pronunciation, and structure of the English language. The incidence of learning disabilities is lower in Spanish or Italian speaking countries.

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