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5 common learning disabilities

Students are often told hard work is the path to success. Individuals who have learning disabilities may have to work even harder than their peers to be successful.

Learning disabilities occur due to neurobiological and/or genetic factors that alter the way the brain functions. This can affect one or more cognitive processes related to learning and interfere with various skills, potentially preventing a person from acquiring the same amount of knowledge as others of the same age.

There are many learning disabilities, here are five of the most common.

  1. Dyslexia: This learning disability can impede a person’s ability to read and comprehend text. Students may have trouble with phonemic awareness, or the way to break down words. Similar problems with phonological processing, or distinguishing between similar word sounds, can occur as well.

  2. ADHD: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is marked by behaviours that make it difficult to pay attention and stay on task. The Masters in Special Education, a resource for finding work and study in special education concentrations, says there is debate over whether ADHD is a learning disability. But there is no denying that ADHD can impede success in school settings.

  3. Auditory processing disorder/language processing disorder: APD affects how sounds are processed and interpreted by the brain. A person may not be able to recognize slight differences between the sounds in words and may not be able to distinguish the direction sounds are coming from. That’s challenging in a classroom setting. LPD is a form of APD that affects how one attaches meaning to sound groups which form words, sentences and so on. An audiologist can diagnose APD.

  4. Dyscalculia: LDRF says dyscalculia makes it challenging to understand even basic mathematical concepts, such as time, measuring and estimating. A person with dyscalculia may have difficulty following order of operations. And since math skills build on one another, a student quickly with dyscalculia can fall behind.

  5. Dysgraphia: A person with dysgraphia may not be able to write legibly. He or she may take a long time to write, hold writing implements improperly and/or struggle with putting thoughts onto a page. Additional symptoms of learning disorders include failing to tell left from right, difficulty recognizing patterns, lack of coordination, difficulty doing tasks with the hands, and challenges associated with concepts of time. Educators and health care providers often collaborate to help those with learning disabilities get the services they need to be successful in the classroom.

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