Facts about Learning Differences

Learning disabilities involve persistent difficulties in reading, writing, arithmetic, or mathematical reasoning, during school age years.1 As academic demands and social demands increase during school, the signs of learning disabilities become amplified as well.2 Research shows that 8 to 10 percent of American children have some type of learning disability.2 Early identification and intervention of learning disabilities are particularly important to help gear a child’s educational program towards their specific learning needs and strengths to promote academic progress and success. A specific learning disorder is diagnosed through a clinical review of an individual’s developmental, medical, educational, and family history; assessment data and scores; teacher observations, and a student’s response to academic interventions.1

Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder that involves reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking.3 Dyscalculia refers to a wide range of learning disabilities involving math, which may include difficulty with basic math skills, the ability to apply math problem solving skills, and the ability to organize objects and measure.4 Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which involves a complex set of motor and information processing skills.5 Individuals with dysgraphia might have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page, leading to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and putting thoughts and ideas on paper.5

Many people with learning disabilities struggle with executive functioning skills, the mental processes that help connect past experience with the present.6 Difficulties with executive functioning, make activities like planning, organizing, prioritizing, remembering details, managing time and space, and self-monitoring and management more difficult.6 Problems in these areas may be contributing to difficulties learning academic material and making academic progress.6


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