Learning disabilities are referred to those disorders that impact a person’s ability to hear, speak, read, write, and calculate. There are many types that affect people in various ways. Let’s take a look…
Learning disability (LD) is a neurological disorder affecting one or more basic psychological functions such as understanding or using written or spoken language. People with this disability will have difficulty in speaking, reading, listening, writing, spelling, and mathematical calculations. It is caused by a difference in brain structure at birth and is mostly hereditary. The brain’s information processing ability is affected, leading to learning disorders.
Learning disability does not have any particular cause, symptom, treatment, or outcome. In fact, learning disability is a broad term covering a pool of probable causes, symptoms, and treatment options, because it can show up in various forms. Not all disabilities can be termed as learning disabilities, as many children exhibit slower skill development. Learning problems are different from learning disabilities, and are only categorized as a disability when academic performance and adaptive functions are hampered. Specific criteria must be met in order for the disability to be diagnosed as a LD.
Developmental Speech and Language Disorders
The earliest indicators of a learning disability are speech and language problems. People will have difficulty in using spoken language for communication, comprehending what others say, and producing speech sounds. This category can be further classified based on the specific diagnosis.
Developmental Articulation Disorder: This disorder is common, and appears in at least 10 percent of children under the age of 8. Children with this disorder find it difficult to control their speech rate. However, children are seen to be successfully treated with speech therapy.
Developmental Expressive Language Disorder: These children find it difficult to express themselves in speech.
Developmental Receptive Language Disorder: These children have difficulty in understanding various aspects of speech. Toddlers don’t respond to their name, and children make mistakes in correlating name of objects with the actual object. For example, when asked for a ball, they give a bell, etc. Thus, even though they hear the words correctly, they are unable to comprehend what they hear.
Academic Skills Disorders
These children develop their academic skills slower than their classmates. This category is further classified as:
Developmental Reading Disorder: This disorder is also known as dyslexia, and affects 2 to 8 percent of elementary school children. Children with this reading and language-based disability face difficulties with language skills such as writing, spelling, recognizing words, and pronouncing words. Dyslexic children find it very difficult to succeed academically in the typical educational environment. Other problems such as poor decoding skills, poor handwriting, and understanding what they read also exist.
Developmental Writing Disorder: In order to write, the brain networks for grammar, vocabulary, memory ,and hand movement must function correctly. A developmental writing disorder or dysgraphia, can result from a problem in any one of the above mentioned areas. These children are unable to construct complete grammatical sentences.
Developmental Arithmetic Disorder: This disorder is also known as dyscalculia, and involves a life long difficulty related to mathematical calculations. These children have difficulty in understanding simple mathematical concepts and are unable to solve math problems.
Other Coordination Disorders and Learning Disabilities
Certain other motor skill disorders and specific developmental disorders that do not come under the above mentioned categories are placed here. These include coordination disorders leading to poor motor skills, such as poor penmanship and body language. Certain memory, visual, and spelling disorders also come under this category.
People can be diagnosed with more than one type of learning disability, as various functions and abilities are interconnected. Disruption of one function will lead to the coexistence of many types of disabilities. The ability to speak depends on the ability to understand the language and comprehend it. Thus, inability to understand the language will hamper the person’s ability to speak. This will further result in the inability to read and write.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.