Learning Disabilities

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Learning disabilities (LDs) impact the way people (both children and adults) process information, but have nothing to do with intelligence. Many people with learning disabilities have average to above average IQs Although most people consider the negative impact LDs can have on a child during school, these are lifelong conditions and can also have a major impact in both social situations and in the workplace.


    Dyslexia (a reading learning disorder) is the most well known learning disability, however, there are many different types of LD. Some of the most common include: 

    • Dyscalculia (arithmetic learning disorder)
    • Dysgraphia (writing disorder)
    • Auditory and Visual Processing Disorder (difficulty understanding written or spoken words without vision or hearing problems)
    • Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational and evaluative processing) 

    Eight percent of the population and between twenty percent and thirty percent of people with ADHD have some type of learning disability.  [1] ADHD is not considered to be a learning disability, even though it can sometimes interfere with a person's ability to learn. It does not interfere with the processing of information in the brain, but instead impacts a person's ability to focus and pay attention and can cause impulsiveness and hyperactivity, making it difficult for someone to sit still in structured learning situations such as school.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    Some student advocates believe that the rate of children with ADHD that also have LDs that all children with ADHD should be tested for learning disabilities but most school districts will not test children unless specific symptoms of learning disabilities are present.


    Early Signs of Learning Disabilities


    Although each learning disability is different and symptoms can be different from person to person, there are a number of symptoms that appear in early childhood that may signify a possible learning disability. LDOnline.com some of the symptoms include: 

    • Delayed language development
    • Difficulty with pronunciation
    • Limited vocabulary
    • Problems finding the correct word
    • Problems with rhyming
    • Delay in learning ABCs, numbers, colors or shapes
    • Easily distracted, problems focusing or restless
    • Difficulty interacting with other children or in other social situations
    • Problems following directions
    • Delay in fine motor skills 

    Parents often notice when their child has learning differences and difficulties, even if they cannot explain or describe the difficulties. However, early intervention can lead to greater success. When parents notice a child not meeting developmental milestones, seeking professional help can produce long-term benefits.


    Learning Disabilities in School


    Federal law requires schools to provide special services to children when a learning disability interferes with their ability to learn. Either parents or teachers can request an evaluation be completed to determine if a child has a LD.


    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    Schools, however, do not normally test for specific LDs, such as dyslexia, but rather test to determine if LDs are interfering with a child's ability to learn. Once it is determined that a child has a LD, accommodations and modifications can be put into place to help the child succeed.


    Learning Disabilities in Teens


    Teens may continue to need special services, or special education, throughout their school career. Self-esteem and social skills may also be an issue for teens.


    Parents can work with schools to help develop plans to build self-reliance skills and provide strategies not only through high school but help with transitioning into the working world or college. Colleges offer specialized programs to help a child with learning disabilities succeed.


    Learning Disabilities in Adults


    Children and teens with LDs do not grow out of the disability although many adults have learned strategies to help them compensate with symptoms. Even so, specific LDs can interfere with work and adults are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing them modifications in the workplace.


    Social skills can also be impacted by learning disabilities and can cause problems in relationships. Working on specific strategies to improve communication skills has helped many people with LDs.


    Although living with a LD creates challenges and difficulties, it certainly does not indicate a person will meet failure. Many people with LDs succeed everyday.


    To help provide accurate information on managing the symptoms of various Learning Disabilities, HealthCentral.com has created FriendsOfQuinn.com. Please be sure to stop by the site to learn more about the different LDs.




    [1] "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder", Revised 2008, National Institute of Mental Health


    "About Learning Disabilities", Date Unknown, Author Unknown, National Institute of Learning Development


    [2] "LD Basics", Date Unknown, Author Unknown, LD Online


    "Learning Disabilities", 2008, April 1, Cutter et al,  Helpguide.org


    "LD Basics", National Center for Learning Disabilities



Published On: March 30, 2009