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Decoding Dyslexia, a Common Learning Disability

What Are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disabilities affect how someone learns to read, write, speak, count, and perform calculations. They are caused by differences in the way the brain processes information. They do not reflect a person's intelligence. Also, they are not the same as learning problems due to intellectual or developmental disabilities, or emotional, vision, hearing, or motor skills problems.

Learning disabilities usually are discovered after a child starts school and has difficulty in one or more areas. People can have more than one learning disability. Learning disabilities may last a lifetime, but they can be managed with the right educational supports.

Is There a Cure?

Learning disabilities have no cure but early intervention can lessen their effects. People with learning disabilities can be successful in school, at work, and in their personal lives.

Diagnosing Learning Disabilities

A full evaluation for a learning disability includes:

  • A medical examination, including a neurological exam, to identify or rule out other possible causes of the child's difficulties, such as emotional disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and brain diseases
  • Exploration of the child's developmental, social, and school performance
  • A discussion of family history
  • Academic achievement testing and psychological assessment

Usually, a team of specialists, among them a psychologist, special education expert, and speech-language pathologist, performs evaluations. Many schools also have reading specialists who can be part of a team that can diagnose a reading disability.

What Are the Treatments for Learning Disabilities?

People with learning disabilities and disorders can learn strategies for coping with their disabilities. Getting help earlier increases the likelihood for success in school and later in life. If learning disabilities remain untreated, a child may begin to feel frustrated with schoolwork, which can lead to low self-esteem, depression, and other problems.

Usually, experts work to help children improve skills and build upon their strengths to help develop ways to compensate for their challenges so that they don't fall behind in other areas, particularly if they continue to struggle.

Read More "Dyslexic" Articles

In Their Own Words: Dealing with Dyslexia / Decoding Dyslexia, a Common Learning Disability / What is Dyslexia? / Special Education and Research

Winter 2016 Issue: Volume 10 Number 4 Page 18-19