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What is a learning disability?

What Is A Learning DisabilityA learning disability is a disorder that causes a difficulty in learning. The causes of the disorder that leads to the disability can vary greatly based on circumstances and even heredity.

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Anyone with a learning disability needs to find out as much as possible about the cause of the learning disability so if there is an effective treatment available, the treatment can be given to lessen the affects of the disability. The following article will provide additional information about learning disabilities and diagnoses.

How are learning disabilities diagnosed?

Most learning disabilities are diagnosed in children. The sooner a learning disability is diagnosed the better. A learning disability can be diagnosed by a pediatrician, educator, psychologist or psychiatrist. It is important for the one diagnosing the learning disability to distinguish between behavior problems, issues at home, and real learning issues. Once the other concerns are addressed, the learning disability can be diagnosed properly.

There are many tests and options available online that encourage parents to diagnose their children or individuals to diagnose themselves. This is not the best way to achieve a diagnosis. The more personally involved a person is with the individual being diagnosed, the more room there is for error in judgment or the objectivity of answers to important questions. It is best to let a professional diagnose the individual or child in question.

What are the main types of learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities are put into four main categories that encompass how individuals learn. The categories are:

  • Output
  • Input
  • Storage
  • Integration

These four areas have many sub areas, but they represent the four main areas of learning and communicating back what has been learned. If one of these areas is compromised, a learning disability will be diagnosed. Though learning disabilities cannot be cured, they can be treated or coped with in a way that still ends in success for the individual.

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4 Areas of Learning Disorders

  1. Output is related to how information is communicated from an individual. Information can be outputted by words or actions. If someone has a learning disability that affects the output of information, it may show itself in their words or actions. If it manifests itself in words, speaking and expressing thoughts may be difficult or non existent depending on the level of the disability. If it manifests itself in actions, fine or even gross motor skills will be compromised.
  2. Input is related to the way information is taken in. When an individual learns, they can learn by using all five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Though not all five senses will be used every time, information can be taken in through the senses while learning. If a learning disability manifests itself in the input area, an individual may have trouble learning through sight, hearing or touch. A child, for example, may not be able to focus on the teacher’s voice, but instead will focus on other sounds in the room.
  3. Integration is when the information taken during input is processed and used to learn. An individual with a learning disability in the area of integration will not have a high reading comprehension, is not able to put information in a sequential order, and may not be able to recall previous learning to assist with the new learning. For example, a child learning multiplication will not be able use what was learned through addition to assist in the multiplication process.
  4. Lastly, an individual with a learning disability in the storage area will have little or no short term memory or a compromised long term memory both of which are essential to learning and processing new information. These types of individuals need information repeated several times before learning can begin. Most students need something repeated an average of 17 times before they can truly know the information. With a learning disability in the storage area, this number can go up to 50 times or higher.

What can you do if you think you or your child my have a learning disability?

As stated before, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between other issues that affect learning and a learning disability. A professional needs to test and diagnose the individual. For a child, this will encompass teacher input, school counselors, and pediatricians working together to find the best possible outcome for the child. Once a diagnosis is made, teachers can adapt curriculum and teaching methods to help the child become a successful learner.

A learning disability may inhibit an adult’s ability to maintain employment. In this case, he or she should investigate disability insurance options through both the state and private insurance companies.

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