2- Types of Learning Disabilities

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2- Types of Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are due to genetic and/or neurobiological factors that alter brain functioning in a manner which affects one or more cognitive processes related to learning. 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.  It is important to realize that learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond

academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace

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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.  However, some individuals do not receive an evaluation until they are in post-secondary education or adults in the workforce.  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

Student reading a book in classrom

Learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps; of intellectual disability; 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

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

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

“Learning Disabilities” is an “umbrella” term describing a number of other, more specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Find the signs and symptoms of each, plus strategies to help below

Types of Learning Disabilities

Dyscalculia

Autism and education

A specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts

Affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts

Individuals with this type of learning disability demonstrate impaired math calculation skills and difficulty understanding numbers and math facts

Dyscalculia is associated with weaknesses in fundamental number representation and processing, which results in difficulties with quantifying sets without counting, using nonverbal processes to complete simple numerical operations, and estimating relative magnitudes of set

Because these math skills are necessary for higher-level math problem solving, quantitative reasoning is likely impaired for these individuals

Dysgraphia

A specific learning disability that affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills

Affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills

Dysgraphia is a learning disability which involves impaired ability to produce legible and automatic letter writing and often numeral writing, the latter of which may interfere with math

Dysgraphia is rooted in difficulty with storing and automatically retrieving letters and numerals.

Individuals with dysgraphia often have difficulties in Executive Functions (e.g., planning and organizing)

Dyslexia

why my baby doesnot obey

A specific learning disability that affects reading and related language-based processing skills

Affects reading and related language-based processing skills

Student reading a book in classrom

Dyslexia is characterized by deficits in accurate and fluent word recognition

Individuals with dyslexia struggle with word recognition, decoding, and spelling

Reading comprehension is sometimes impaired due to very poor word reading skills

Individuals with dyslexia often have deficits in phonemic and phonological awareness, which refer to the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the sound structure of a spoken word, including its phonemes, syllables, onsets and rhymes

Individuals with dyslexia may also have impaired orthographic processing, which interferes with connecting letters and letter combinations with sounds accurately and fluently

Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities

Has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language and may have poor coordinatio

Has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language and may have poor coordination

Currently non-verbal learning disabilities are not listed in IDEA or the DSM-5 as a specific type of learning disability. There is a developing body of research that indicates approximately 5 percent of individuals with learning disabilities display the cognitive and academic difficulties that are associated with nonverbal learning disabilities

Research indicates that nonverbal learning disabilities are associated with impairment in three broad areas, including motoric skills, visual-spatial organizational memory, and social abilities

Individuals with this type of learning disability have a well-developed vocabulary, as well as strong reading recognition ability and rote language skills

Oral / Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit

Learning disabilities that affect an individual’s understanding of what they read or of spoken language. The ability to express one’s self with oral language may also be impacted

Affects an individual’s understanding of what they read or of spoken language

Individuals with Oral / Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit struggle with understanding and/or expressing language often in both oral and written forms

These individuals often exhibit Specific Language Impairment related to deficits in semantic processing and syntactic processing

Semantic processing relates to encoding the meaning of words. Syntactic processing relates to the understanding of the order of words and how that can change meaning. For example, the sentences “The blanket is on the baby” and “The baby is on the blanket” use the same words, but have different meanings

Related Disorders

ADHD

A disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, controlling behavior and hyperactivity

Affects focus, attention and behavior and can make learning challenging

A disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior and hyperactivity. Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability, research indicates that from 30-50 percent of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability, and that the two conditions can interact to make learning extremely challenging

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or approximately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 24 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADH

ADHD is not considered to be a learning disability. It can be determined to be a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), making a student eligible to receive special education services. However, ADHD falls under the category “Other Health Impaired” and not under “Specific Learning Disabilities.” Individuals with ADHD can also qualify for accommodations under the ADA and Section 504 if their ADHD impacts a major life function such as learning

Many children with ADHD – approximately 20 to 30 percent – also have a specific learning disability

The principle characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. There are three subtypes of ADHD recognized by professionals. These are the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type (that does not show significant inattention); The predominantly inattentive type (that does not show significant hyperactive-impulsive behavior) sometimes called ADD; and the combined type (that displays both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms)

Other disorders that sometimes accompany ADHD are Tourette Syndrome (affecting a very small proportion of people with ADHD); oppositional defiant disorder (affecting as many as one-third to one-half of all children with ADHD); conduct disorder (about 20 to 40% of ADHD children); anxiety and depression; and bipolar disorder

Dyspraxia

A disorder which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech

Problems with movement and coordination, language and speech

A disorder that is characterized by difficulty in muscle control, which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech, and can affect learning. Although not a learning disability, Dyspraxia often exists along with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or ADHD

Signs and Symptoms

Exhibits poor balance; may appear clumsy; may frequently stumble

Shows difficulty with motor planning

Demonstrates inability to coordinate both sides of the body

Has poor hand-eye coordination

Exhibits weakness in the ability to organize self and belongings

Shows possible sensitivity to touch

May be distressed by loud noises or constant noises like the ticking of a clock or someone tapping a pencil

May break things or choose toys that do not require skilled manipulation

Has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as coloring between the lines, putting puzzles together; cutting accurately or pasting neatly

Irritated by scratchy, rough, tight or heavy clothing

Strategies

Pre-set students for touch with verbal prompts, “I’m going to touch your right hand

Avoid touching from behind or getting too close and make sure peers are aware of this

Provide a quiet place, without auditory or visual distractions, for testing, silent reading or work that requires great concentration

Warn the student when bells will ring or if a fire drill is scheduled

Whisper when working one to one with the child

Allow parents to provide earplugs or sterile waxes for noisy events such as assemblies

Make sure the parent knows about what is observed about the student in the classroom

Refer student for occupational therapy or sensory integration training

Be cognizant of light and light sources that may be irritating to child

Use manipulatives, but make sure they are in students field of vision and don’t force student to touch them

Executive Functioning

Affects, planning, organization, strategizing, attention to details and managing time and space

Affects planning, organization, strategizing, attention to details and managing time and space

An inefficiency in the cognitive management systems of the brain that affects a variety of neuropsychological processes such as planning, organization, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. Although not a learning disability, different patterns of weakness in executive functioning are almost always seen in the learning profiles of individuals who have specific learning disabilities or ADHD

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