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What are Learning Disorders?
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Learning disability is a classification including several areas of functioning in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors.
While learning disability and learning disorder are often used interchangeably, the two differ. Learning disability refers to significant learning problems in an academic area. These problems, however, are not enough to warrant an official diagnosis. Learning disorder, on the other hand, is an official clinical diagnosis, whereby the individual meets certain criteria, as determined by a professional (psychologist, pediatrician, etc.) The difference is in degree, frequency, and intensity of reported symptoms and problems, and thus the two should not be confused. When the term "learning disabilities" is used, it describes a group of disorders characterized by inadequate development of specific academic, language, and speech skills. Types of learning disabilities include reading disability (dyslexia), mathematics disability (dyscalculia) and writing disability (dysgraphia).
The unknown factor is the disorder that affects the brain's ability to receive and process information. This disorder can make it problematic for a person to learn as quickly or in the same way as someone who is not affected by a learning disability. People with a learning disability have trouble performing specific types of skills or completing tasks if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.
Learning disabilities are life long. However, with appropriate cognitive/academic interventions and technology assistance many can overcome the effects of their disability.Individuals with learning disabilities can face unique challenges that are often pervasive throughout the lifespan. Depending on the type and severity of the disability, interventions and current technologies may be used to help the individual learn strategies that will foster future success. Some interventions can be quite simplistic, while others are intricate and complex. Current technologies may require student training to be effective classroom supports. Teachers, parents and schools can create plans together that tailor intervention and accommodations to aid the individual in successfully becoming independent learners. School psychologists and other qualified professionals quite often help design the intervention and coordinate the execution of the intervention with teachers and parents. Social support may improve the learning for students with learning disabilities.
Treating Learning Disorders