LDs Addressed in this Guide
A learning disability affects the way students of average to above average intelligence receive, process, and express information. Learning the basic skills of reading, writing, and math is made more difficult by these neurologically based processing disorders. This guide provides information on dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorders, and auditory and visual processing disorders, as well as related disorders, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and dyspraxia.
Students with learning disabilities, or “learning differences", are sometimes thought of as lazy, immature, and intentionally disruptive. They are none of these! They know they have difficulty understanding the world the way those around them do. They often have developed their own coping strategies to help functioning, such as being the class clown, or trying to "disappear into the woodwork." This is often a child that "everyone knows" is smart, if not brilliant in many ways.
Once parents realize something is not quite right and decide to have the child fully evaluated to find reasons for below-level work or inappropriate behavior, the family and school can begin to take the steps necessary for the child to learn strategies for decoding the world.
As teachers, administrators, and librarians, the more we know about these disorders the better prepared we are to teach these students differently, since they are "wired" differently!
Taking the First Step: A Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities.
From the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Provides the authoritative national and state-by-state snapshot of learning disabilities (LD) in the United States, and their impact on the ability of students and adults to achieve educational success and employment. This publication also clarifies what a learning disability is and explains the common misperceptions associated with LD.(2011) Download 32-page booklet.
Learning Disabilities cannot be cured or fixed. They are a life-long condition, but with the correct diagnosis, support, and intervention, children with LDs can succeed in school and in life.
"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 differences 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."
LDA: Learning Disabilities: Sign, Symptoms, and Strategies
From the Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:
Regulations Part 300/A/300.8/C/10
(10) Specific learning disability.
(i) General. Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think. speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
(ii) Disorders not included. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Read the article "Could this be teh sercet to sussecc?" by Chris Warren, in American Way (July 1, 2008), about how dyslexia might be an asset in the business world.
What is Dyslexia? Stephen J. Cannell