Understanding Learning Disabilities 

 

Learning disabilities affect the information processing abilities of individuals with average or above average overall intelligence.  One or more of the following abilities may be affected:

1.    Ability to accurately "take in" information
        Examples:  
        A student may be able to pass a hearing test, but has difficulty perceiving the words that an
        instructor is saying during a lecture.                          
       When attempting to read a student may perceive the printed words to move, reverse their
        sequence or shake

2.    Ability to organize information
        Examples:
        Difficulty in deciding how to prioritize information or put it into the proper sequence.
        A student may be able to recall a great deal of information about a topic, but can't seem to form
        a concept that links the pieces of information

3.    Ability to retain information
        Examples:
        A student may have excellent comprehension of information presented during a lecture, but 
        can't remember much about it 20 minutes later

4.    Ability to express knowledge
        Examples:
        A student may be able to solve a complex problem "in their head", but can't effectively express 
        it to others through writing, or sometimes through speech

Quite often only one of these abilities is affected by a specific type of learning disability.  It is very common for a person with a learning disability to be proficient, or even excel, in some academic areas, but experience extreme difficulty when attempting to learn others:
        Examples:
        A student with a reading disability may excel in math and science
        A student with math disability may excel in English and social studies
        A student with a reading disability may be a proficient writer

 

These difficulties persist even though the student has had sufficient instruction in the academic area that they have difficulty with.  A Learning Disability Specialist can assess a student to determine if they have a learning disability, identify the kind of learning disability, and recommend "learning strategies", assistive technologies, and support services that can compensate for the disability and help the student be successful in reaching their academic goals.

Some very successful people have had learning disabilities, including Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, John Lennon, Agatha Christie, and George Washington.