Learning Disability

What is a Learning Disability?

Definition of Learning Disabilities (LDAO): http://www.ldao.ca

“Learning Disabilities” refers to a variety of disorders that affect the acquisition, retention, understanding, organization or use of verbal and/or non-verbal information. These disorders result from impairments in one or more psychological processes related to learning, in combination with otherwise average abilities essential for thinking and reasoning. Learning disabilities are specific not global impairments and as such are distinct from intellectual disabilities.

Definition of Dyslexia (IDA) Dyslexia” is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

If a child has average or above-average intelligence and is performing very poorly in school, he/she may have a learning disability (LD). These disorders involve difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or solving math problems. Learning disabilities have a wide range of characteristics and various degrees of severity. However, all learning-disabled children have poor or uneven academic achievement even though they have normal or above-normal intelligence. These children may show difficulties in one or many of the following areas: receptive language or with expressive language, visual-perceptual processing, auditory-perceptual processing, memory, and fine motor control. A learning disability is a neurobiological disorder with biological causes.

It is important for a team of professionals to gather information about the child to determine the nature and degree of the learning disability and the child’s educational needs. The evaluation includes testing and input from teachers and parents. It is also important to make sure there is no medical problem underlying the child’s condition including mild hearing or vision problems. Professionals rely heavily on the parents’ and teachers’ perspectives of the problems to make meaningful recommendations.

The results of the evaluation help determine whether your child is eligible to receive special education services. The results are also used to develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).

Helpful Links:

LD Online: www.ldonline.com

Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario: www.ldao.ca

International Dyslexia Association Ontario Branch: www.idaontario.com

The Learning Tool Box: http://coe.jmu.edu/learningtoolbox

National Reading Panel: http://nationalreadingpanel.org

Teach ADHD/Hospital for Sick Children: http://research.aboutkidshealth.ca/teachadhd

Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network: http://www.cllrnet.ca/

Children’s Mental Health: http://www.kidsmentalhealth.ca



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