Signs of Learning Disability
Kindergarten to fourth grade:
Fifth grade to eight grades:
About Learning Disabilities
A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. The disability may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.
Every individual with a learning disability is unique and shows a different combination and degree of difficulties. A common characteristic among people with learning disabilities is uneven areas of ability, “a weakness within a sea of strengths.” For instance, a child with dyslexia who struggles with reading, writing and spelling may be very capable in math and science.
Learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages.
Generally speaking, people with learning disabilities are of average or above average intelligence. There often appears to be a gap between the individual’s potential and actual achievement. This is why learning disabilities are referred to as “hidden disabilities:” the person looks perfectly “normal” and seems to be a very bright and intelligent person, yet may be unable to demonstrate the skill level expected from someone of a similar age.
In Federal law, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the term is “specific learning disability,” one of 13 categories of disability under that law.
Symptoms of Learning Disabilities
The symptoms of learning disabilities are a diverse set of characteristics which affect development and achievement. Some of these symptoms can be found in all children at some time during their development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which do not disappear as s/he grows older.
Most frequently displayed symptoms:
Other characteristics that may be present:
Additional information is available on LDA’s website at www.ldaamerica.org
“Learning Disabilities” is an “umbrella” term describing a number of other, more specific learning disabilities:
Dyslexia - A language and reading disability
Dyscalculia - Problems with arithmetic and math concepts
Dysgraphia - A writing disorder resulting in illegibility
Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) - Problems with motor coordination
Central Auditory Processing Disorder - Difficulty processing and remembering language-related tasks
Non-Verbal Learning Disorders - Trouble with nonverbal cues, e.g., body language; poor coordination, clumsy
Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
Reverses letters; cannot copy accurately; eyes hurt and itch; loses place; struggles with cutting
Language Disorders (Aphasia/ Dysphasia) - Trouble understanding spoken language; poor reading comprehension