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Learning Disabilities: An Overview

What is a learning disability?

Some individuals, despite having an average or above average level of intelligence, have real difficulty acquiring basic academic skills. These skills include those needed for successful reading, writing, listening, speaking and/or math. These difficulties might be the result of a learning disability.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law, defines a learning disability as a condition when a child’s achievement is substantially below what one might expect for that child. Learning disabilities do not include problems that are primarily the result of intellectual disabilities, emotional disturbance, or visual, hearing, emotional or intellectual disabilities. The official definition is here.

Many children with LD have struggled with reading. The difficulties often begin with individual sounds or phonemes. Students may have problems with rhyming, and pulling words apart into their individual sounds (segmenting) and putting individual sounds together to form words (blending). This makes it difficult to decode words accurately, which can lead to trouble with fluency and comprehension. As students move through the grades, more and more of the information they need to learn is presented in written (through textbooks) or oral (through lecture) form. This exacerbates the difficulties they have succeeding in school.

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Are Learning Disabilities The Only Problem? You Should Know About Other Related Disorders

By: Larry B. Silver, M.D.

An LD OnLine Exclusive!

You know that you or your child has Learning Disabilities (LD). You need to know that about 50 percent of people with LD will also have one or more related disorders. There is a “Continuum of neurologically-based disorders” that are frequently found together. It is important that all problems be recognized so that all can be addressed.

These related problems might include:

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