Learning Disabilities

What is a Learning Disability?

Learning Disabilities (LD) are neurological disorders that affect the brains ability to receive process, store and respond to information.  The term learning disability is used to describe unexplained difficulty in acquiring and/or learning basic skills such as reading, writing or math. They can also interfere with higher level thinking skills such as organization, time planning, and abstract reasoning. All learning disabilities can greatly interfere with daily activities at school and in work.

LD is not about intelligence….Learning Disabilities are found across the range of intelligence including gifted individuals.  Most individuals with LD have average to above average intelligence.  People with LD are often said to have an invisible disability because they may appear like everyone else, but are somehow different.

A child or adult with a learning disability cannot try harder, pay closer attention, or improve motivation on their own; they need help to learn how to do those things. People who understand the nature of their learning disabilities can develop strategies to compensate for it.  Early identification and intervention has proven to be very successful in helping individuals with learning disabilities succeed in school and fulfill their career goals.  No one’s potential need be limited.  Scientists are currently studying the brain’s potential for change which may hold the answer to innovative treatments and remediation for learning disabilities. More information on What are LDs  Official Definition of Learning Disabilities

Assessment for Learning Disabilities 

If you suspect your child may have a learning disability it is important to consult with your child’s teacher regarding having a psycho-educational assessment to confirm.  This assessment will determine an individual’s cognitive profile and identify strengths or weaknesses in many areas of learning. A psycho-educational assessment may be done by your child’s school or can be arranged and paid for privately by a registered psychologist.

It is important, that if you suspect that your child has a learning disability, you begin an organized filing system to document his/her school progress and all communications between you and your child’s school. Organized information will be important in your role as your child’s advocate, as you liaise and communicate concerns with school personnel. For a psycho-educational assessment to be arranged through your child’s school, quantitative data collection that measures your child’s progress / challenges from year to year will be instrumental. The psycho-educational assessment will give the information needed to define the specific learning challenges/disability. Your child’s assessment will be critical to ensuring your child receives the support they are entitled to and that he/she will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) developed to provide that support. This document will highlight customized accommodations and alternative learning strategies your child’s teacher will use in teaching the curriculum.  More information on Assessments