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Quick link to the information of your choice on Learning Disabilities :
What is a Learning Disability?
A comprehensive definition is offered by the Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities(Link no longer available) About Learning Disabilities:
"The term Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) refers to a spectrum of disabling neurobiological conditions that prevent children and adults from processing and using information in a meaningful manner. These disabilities have a negative effect on a number of functions, including a person's ability to read, write, speak, understand spoken language, organize, plan, remember, etc. These effects manifest themselves despite average, potentially average, or even above average intelligence. Specific Learning Disabilities are life-long disabilities."
- Learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems due to visual, hearing or other medical problems that may or may not have an effect on learning such as motor handicaps, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages. Learning disabilities are unique for each individual and often a learning disability is very specific. Many individuals will have very good ability or even excellent abilities in some areas of learning, but have difficulty in just one area.
The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) used the term to refer to a discrepancy between a child’s apparent capacity to learn and his or her level of achievement
People with learning disabilities can have issues with one, or several of the following:
For more on the types of learning disabilities, visit Learning Disability Association
- Input - Difficulty with visual and auditory perception and the ability to receive information for processing by the brain.
- Organization - An inability to integrate, sequence, organize and therefore understand information obtained through input.
- Memory - A person with a learning disability can have difficulthy with working, short-term, and/or long-term memory.
An example of working memory is one reading a sentence and retaining that information, while reading to the end of a paragraph, then pulling together the meaning of the full paragraph.
Short-term memory is then continuing to read the full chapter, study it, and retain the information long enough to take a test successfully.
Finally, long-term memory is one's ability to retain information indefinitely as part of a general body of knowledge.
- Output - Difficulty communicating information by means of words (language output) or through muscle activity such as writing, drawing, gesturing (motor output). An individual might have a language disability (also called expressive language disability) or a motor disability.
What are the causes of Learning Disabilities?
Learning disabilities may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (e.g. sensory impairment, mental retardation, social and emotional disturbance) or environmental influences (e.g. cultural differences, insufficient/inappropriate instruction, psychogenic factors) but is not caused by these factors.
People with learning disabilities are often of average or above average intelligence, yet there appears to be a gap between the individual's potential or age level and actual achievement.
From Wikipedia Learning Disability page the following causes are cited. "The causes for learning disabilities are not well understood, and sometimes there is no apparent cause for a learning disability. However, some causes of neurological impairments include:
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- Heredity - Learning disabilities often run in the family.
- Problems during pregnancy and birth - Learning disabilities can result from anomalies in the developing brain, illness or injury, fetal exposure to alcohol or drugs, low birth weight, oxygen deprivation, or by premature or prolonged labor.
- Accidents after birth - Learning disabilities can also be caused by head injuries, malnutrition, or by toxic exposure (such as heavy metals or pesticides).
- Behavioral Factors
- Social environment factors
- Cognitive Factors"
What are the characteristics of Learning Disabilities?
There are many categories of Learning Disabilities and each is unique. The term Learning Disabilities is a broad term to identify this group of specific disabilities.
For more on each of the specific learning disabilities, see the following website Learning Disabilities Association of America
What are the statistics regarding Learning Disabilities?
Learning disabilities can sometimes be complicated by other disorders or disabilities, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, visual or hearing disorders, or developmental disabilities.
Learning disabilities can impact reading, writing, math skills, receptive and expressive language processing, social skills, and more. Learn about the types of learning disabilities, diagnosis, and how to cope with learning disabilities.
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People are more alike than they are different.
- Identify and develop an appreciation for each persons strengths and accomplishments.
- Become aware of the effect on daily activities.
- People First Language from disabilityisnatural.com by Kathie Snow offers insight into society's use of language when using the term disability. The term disability is a societal construct to identify characteristics related to a medical condition that may entitle an individual for services or legal protections. The use of this language encourages freedom, respect and inclusion for all, and recognizes forms of language that can isolate, create negative stereotypes and place attitudinal barriers for individuals. "Using People First Language, putting the person before the disability—and eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors, can move us in a new direction. People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more—it can change the way we see a person, and it can change the way a person sees themself!" For more articles by Kathie Snow to "help us begin to use more respectful and accurate language and create positive change," visit People First Language and More
- You cannot tell by looking at a person whether or not they have a learning disability, which make
learning disabilities hard to diagnose.
- It also makes it easy for everyone to overlook or for a student to not get the recognition and assistance they need at an early age.
- If you suspect something is not quite right, talk to your parent or teacher so you can get the assistance you need.
- Students although they may be frustrated with learning, may not want to come forward as they do not want to be labeled with a disability.
- Because learning disabilities are problems that affect the brain's ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information, these problems can make it difficult for a student to learn as quickly as someone who isn't affected by learning disabilities. Parents and teachers may find a student who seems to be struggling with learning, and must learn to recognize the signs of learning disability.
- Parenting a Child with Learning Disabilities: A Viewpoint for Teachers from a Teacher and Parent
by Gross, Carol M.
Issues in Teacher Education, v20 n1 p85-93 Spr 2011, is a book written by a teacher who is also a parent of a student with a Learning Disability, in the hope of evoking in other teachers new, perhaps deeper, understanding for the child and the family who are dealing with learning disabilities. Visit this website or go direct to the publisher at Caddo Gap Press
Needs and Solutions
- Before one can diagnose a learning disability, one should first rule out any visual or hearing problems.
- A psychologist or learning specialist will use specific tests to diagnose learning strengths or difficulties, and whether the person has a learning disability.
- Not every therapy helps every child or adult.
- There is no cure but a person can learn strategies to cope with one's learning challenges.
- Student may need support, tutors, other sensory or ways to learn.
- It is important to get early recognition of the disability so the student will not lose their self esteem or confidence.
Visit our NHU Community Forum on Learning Disabilities for more insights, awareness, viewpoints, experiences, needs and solutions.
Organizations that provide information about learning disabilities:
Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities provides information on learning disabilities and how they affect a person. For more information, contact them at 807 South Oyster Bay Road, Bethpage, NY 11714, Phone: 516.822.0028 | Fax: 516.822.0470 | or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest
international professional organization dedicated to improving the
educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and
talents. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets
professional standards, provides professional development, advocates for
individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain
conditions and resources necessary for effective professional
practice. This site offers information on individual learning disabilities under Exceptionality area. To access many of the articles, however, you need to be a member.
Contact the CEC at 1920 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091 or phone (703)620-3660.
Dyslexia Consultants.com offers a very comprehensive informational website on Dyslexia and other Learning Disabilities. They also offer a test for Dyslexia, solutions for Dyslexia, and many resources.
National Center for Learning Disabilities works to increase public awareness and understanding of learning disabilities (LD), conducts educational programs and services that promote research-based knowledge, and provides national leadership in shaping public policy concerning LD. Their informative website offers specialized information for teens and adults with LD, information and tips on living with LD, a listing of national and local LD programs and services, the latest LD news and much more. For more information, visit their website or call (888) 575-7373.
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