A specific learning disability is a disorder of the brain that makes it hard for a person to take in, process, store, or respond to information.
It can affect any or all of the following:
- Reading (dyslexia)
- Written language (dysgraphia)
- Mathematics (dyscalculia)
Problems in one or more of these areas that can’t be explained by other things, like a visual or hearing impairment, a cognitive disability, or a lack of learning opportunities, cause specific learning disabilities. They can make it hard to do well in school and hurt a person’s self-esteem and social skills.
Some of the most common signs of a learning disability are:
- Having trouble reading, spelling, or writing
- Difficulty remembering or understanding new information
- having trouble understanding math or doing simple math calculations
- Problems getting things organized or done
- Can’t remember things or focus
If a student has a specific learning disability, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan may be able to help them with accommodations and support services. The accommodations and support services given to a student will depend on what that student needs.
Specific Learning Disability Causes
Specific learning disabilities (SLD Special Education) are neurological conditions that make it hard to take in, process, store, or react to information.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a specific learning disability’s cause is often unknown, but research shows that several things could cause it, such as:
- Genetics: Some learning disabilities seem to run in families, which suggests that genes may cause them.
- Environment: Some things in the environment, like being born early, having a low birth weight, or being exposed to toxins, can make it more likely that a child will have a learning disability.
- Brain development: Differences in how the brain grows, or works can lead to specific learning disabilities. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry provides a detailed explanation of this.
- Medical conditions: Like lead poisoning, a brain injury, or an infection can make it more likely that a person will have a learning disability.
It’s important to remember that a lack of intelligence or motivation doesn’t cause specific learning disabilities, and a person can’t just “grow out of” them. People with specific learning disabilities can do well in school and reach their full potential with the right help and accommodations.
Specific Learning Disability List
A specific learning disability is a neurological disorder that impairs a person’s capacity to receive, process, store, or respond to information.
Some examples of specific learning disabilities are:
- Dyslexia is a specific form of reading-related learning disability. It might impede phonemic awareness, decoding, and fluency.
- Dysgraphia is a specific learning disability that impacts written communication. It may cause difficulties with writing, spelling, and grammar.
- Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability that impacts mathematics. It may impair fundamental math concepts and abilities, such as understanding numbers, performing calculations, and solving problems.
- Auditory processing disorder is a specific learning disability that impacts how the brain processes auditory information. It may make listening, understanding, and remembering spoken information difficult.
- Visual processing disorder is a specific learning disability that impacts how the brain processes visual information. It may make it difficult to read, comprehend, and interpret visual information, such as text and graphics.
- A nonverbal learning disorder is a learning disability that negatively impacts nonverbal communication and social interaction. It can affect visual-spatial abilities, motor coordination, and social skills.
These are only a few examples of learning disabilities. There are numerous other types of specific learning disabilities, and the symptoms and difficulties experienced by people with these conditions can vary. If you have concerns about your child’s learning or development, it is essential to consult a qualified professional for a thorough evaluation and assistance.
Dyslexia and Specific Learning Disability
Dyslexia is a specific reading-related learning disability. It involves difficulties with phonemic awareness, decoding, and fluency.
The ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken language is known as phonemic awareness.
Decoding is converting written words into their corresponding sounds and meanings.
Fluency is the capacity to read accurately and smoothly. Individuals with dyslexia may struggle with these skills, even if they have been taught to read using conventional techniques.
Additionally, they may need help with spelling, writing, and reading comprehension. Dyslexia is neither a matter of intelligence or motivation nor something a person can “outgrow.” Individuals with dyslexia can learn to read and succeed in school with the proper accommodations and assistance.
Early identification and intervention can significantly impact a child’s academic and personal development.
The following strategies may be helpful in individuals with dyslexia:
- Utilization of auxiliary aids, such as text-to-speech software or electronic dictionaries
- Instruction involves acquiring new knowledge through multiple senses (such as sight, sound, and touch).
- Utilization of phonetic spelling techniques
- Additional time on exams and assignments
- Alterations to instructional materials or assignments
Suppose you suspect your child may have dyslexia. In that case, it is essential to consult a qualified professional, such as a school psychologist or learning specialist, for a thorough evaluation and the appropriate support.
Specific Learning Disability Treatment
What Is SLD in Special Education? Specific learning disabilities are neurological conditions that make it hard for a person to take in, process, store, or react to information. People with specific learning disabilities can’t be cured, but with the right help and accommodations, they can learn, succeed, and reach their full potential.
Treatment options for a specific learning disability will depend on the needs of the person with the disability and may include a combination of the following:
- Accommodations are changes made to how a person is taught or where they learn. They might use assistive technology, change class materials or assignments, get more time on tests or projects, or sit in a different place.
- Multisensory instruction is a way to learn new information that uses more than one sense, such as sight, sound, and touch. This kind of teaching can benefit people with dyslexia or other learning disabilities that make it hard for them to read or write.
- Tutoring or small-group instruction: People with specific learning disabilities can get targeted help through tutoring or small-group instruction.
- Medication: In some cases, people may use medications to treat specific symptoms of a learning disability, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety.
- Behavioral therapy: People with certain learning disabilities can learn ways to deal with their disabilities and reach their goals with the help of behavioral therapy.
Working with a qualified professional, like a school psychologist or learning specialist, is vital to determine the best treatment options for someone with a specific learning disability.
Specific Learning Disability Reevaluation
Reevaluation is looking at a student’s needs and progress again to see if their Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan is still suitable for them and meeting their needs. Federal law says that students with disabilities must be reevaluated at least every three years, or more often if needed, to ensure that their IEP or 504 plan is still suitable for them and meets their needs.
The process of reevaluating a specific learning disability may use several tools and methods, such as:
- Student observations in the classroom and other places
- Looking at the student’s academic and functional progress
- Standardized tests and different types of evaluations
- What the student, parents, and teachers say counts
The reevaluation process ensures that students with certain learning disabilities get the help and accommodations they need to do well in school. It also gives parents and other IEP or 504 plan team members a chance to share their ideas and ensure to meet the student’s needs.
Specific Learning Disability in Writing
A specific learning disability in writing, or dysgraphia, is a problem with written language caused by a particular learning disability. It makes it hard to spell, use correct grammar, and write legibly. People with dysgraphia may have trouble writing legibly, getting their ideas across clearly in writing, and putting their written work in order.
Dysgraphia has nothing to do with intelligence or motivation; a person can’t just “grow out of it.” People with dysgraphia can learn to write and do well in school with the right help and accommodations.
Some of the most common signs of dysgraphia are:
- Not good at writing
- Having trouble putting ideas together in writing
- Needing help spelling words right; I need help with grammar and punctuation.
- Copying from a board or book is hard.
Suppose you think your child might have dysgraphia. In that case, you should talk to a qualified professional, like a school psychologist or learning specialist, who can give your child a thorough evaluation and the right help.
People with dysgraphia may find the following strategies helpful:
- Using things like word-processing software or speech-to-text software can help.
- Multisensory instruction is a way to learn new things that involve using more than one sense, like sight, sound, and touch.
- Using strategies for spelling based on sounds
- Writing assignments with more time
- Changes made to writing assignments
A person with dysgraphia needs to work with a trained professional to determine the best treatment.
Specific Learning Disability Accommodations
Accommodations are changes to how a student gets taught or the environment in which they learn, designed to provide equal access to education for students with disabilities. Students with specific learning disabilities typically receive accommodations through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan.
The specific accommodations provided will depend on the individual needs of the student and may include a combination of the following:
- Assistive technology can include software, hardware, or other devices to help students with specific learning disabilities access and process information. Examples include text-to-speech software, electronic dictionaries, or speech-to-text software.
- Modification of classroom materials or assignments: Modifying materials or projects can make them more accessible for students with specific learning disabilities. It may include providing materials in an alternate format, such as electronic or large print, or simplifying language or content.
- Extra time on tests or assignments: Providing spare time on tests or homework can allow students with specific learning disabilities to complete tasks at their own pace and without the time pressure their peers may experience.
- Special seating arrangements: Special seating arrangements, such as seating the student at the front of the classroom or near the teacher, can help them see and hear better and minimize distractions.
- Alternate testing locations: Testing in a quiet, separate area may be helpful for students with specific learning disabilities who are easily distracted or have difficulty with test-taking anxiety.
Working with a qualified professional, such as a school psychologist or learning specialist, is vital to determine the most appropriate accommodations for a student with a specific learning disability.
Jennifer Hanson is a dedicated and seasoned writer specializing in the field of special education. With a passion for advocating for the rights and needs of children with diverse learning abilities, Jennifer uses her pen to educate, inspire, and empower both educators and parents alike.