Specific Learning Disabilities
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November 11, 2016
Learning disabilities are neurologically-based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention. Learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace so it should be shown how people can adapt and help others.
Since difficulties with reading, writing and/or math are recognizable problems during the school years, the signs and symptoms of learning disabilities are most often diagnosed during that time. Other individuals with learning disabilities may never receive an evaluation and go through life, never knowing why they have difficulties with academics and why they may be having problems in their jobs or in relationships with family and friends.
Learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems as they still affect the person’s neurological barriers but this comes under more of the autism spectrum.
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 them.
A learning disability cannot be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong challenge. However, with appropriate support and intervention, people with learning disabilities can achieve success in school, at work, in relationships, and in the community.
There are many learning disabilities which have finally been addressed in society.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) this is a condition that affects how sound travels unimpeded through the ear and is processed or interpreted by the brain. Individuals with APD do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. They can also find it difficult to tell where sounds are coming from, to make sense of the order of sounds, or to block out competing background noises.
Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. Individuals with this may also have poor comprehension of math symbols, may struggle with memorizing and organizing numbers, have difficulty telling time, or have trouble with counting.
Dysgraphia is a specific learning disability that affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills. Problems may include illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on paper, poor spelling, and difficulty composing writing as well as thinking and writing at the same time.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading and related language-based processing skills. The severity can differ in each individual but can affect reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling, and sometimes speech and can exist along with other related disorders. Dyslexia is sometimes referred to as a Language-Based Learning Disability.
Language Processing Disorder is a form of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in which there is difficulty attaching meaning to sound groups that form words, sentences and stories. While an APD affects the interpretation of all sounds coming into the brain, a Language Processing Disorder (LPD) relates only to the processing of language.
Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities is a disorder which is usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial and social skills. Typically, an individual with NLD (or NVLD) has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language, and may have poor coordination.
Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit is a disorder that affects the understanding of information that a person sees, or the ability to draw or copy. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
ADHD is a disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behaviour and hyperactivity. Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability, research indicates that from 30-50%of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability, and that the two conditions can interact to make learning extremely challenging.
If you feel you have felt any of these symptoms there may be a chance that you could have anyone of these, but do not worry there is support out there. Schools and colleges will have academic support in which you can turn to for assistance and they can help address what you might feel you have. If you don’t feel you can go to the school go to a parent or someone that you trust and they can help you find a way to face it! You may have had any of these symptoms and not have any of these learning disabilities which is good. These learning difficulties does not mean you are stupid it just means it takes a bit longer to process or work things out which is okay, it means you are unique!