What is a Learning Disability?
“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.
Learning disabilities range in severity and invariably interfere with the acquisition and use of one or more of the following important skills:
- oral language (e.g., listening, speaking, understanding)
- reading (e.g., decoding, comprehension)
- written language (e.g., spelling, written expression)
- mathematics (e.g., computation, problem solving)
Learning disabilities may also cause difficulties with organizational skills, social perception and social interaction. Learning disabilities are due to genetic, other congenital and/or acquired neuro-biological factors. They are not caused by factors such as cultural or language differences, inadequate or inappropriate instruction, socio-economic status or lack of motivation, although any one of these and other factors may compound the impact of learning disabilities. Frequently learning disabilities co-exist with other conditions, including attentional, behavioural and emotional disorders, sensory impairments or other medical conditions.
It is important to emphasize that individuals with LD have average to above average intelligence and therefore, are very capable of learning. Information can be processed, but may require additional time and different methods as compared to individuals without LD. The educational process, learning strategies, accommodations, assistive technology and remedial intervention can significantly impact the learning process. Therefore, effective and efficient learning and teaching methods that are based on the student’s strengths are needed to specifically meet the needs of individuals with LD.
For further information about definitions go to http://www.ldao.ca/introduction-to-ldsadhd/introduction-to-ldsadhd/what-are-lds/official-definition-of-lds/