What are learning disabilities?

First of all, what are learning disabilities? Learning disability or learning disorder might be difficult to recognize in a child. A learning difficulty is a disability that affects a persons ability to process information. Children with learning disorder have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in the conventional way. These children might find the conventional method of teaching quite stressful. Hence within school, they need a modified way of learning or what is called the IEP which is the Individualized Education Plan. These children require a Learning Support Assistant who are specifically trained to work with them in order to achieve the targets set in their IEPS. Learning disabilities continue to adulthood and cannot be cured. However with the support of therapists and educational intervention programs, they can improve the specific skills.

Up to 10 percent of the world population is affected by specific learning difficulty. Below I will give a brief description of the four most common types of learning difficulties and their signs:


Dyslexia is the most common type of learning disorder. Children with dyslexia have a difficulty in reading which is the most common sign of Dyslexia. Dyslexia can be caused by hereditary factors but the exact cause of dyslexia hasn’t been properly understood. Dyslexia also causes these children to lack behind in their ability to spell, write and comprehend. The sooner dyslexia is diagnosed in a child, the better it is for a favourable outcome. Children with dyslexia often face anxiety and stress when it comes to reading or writing. The child will show behavioural problems and will become unmotivated and develop a dislike for school. Dyslexia is a life long condition that doesn’t tend to fade away. However, structured literacy interventions results in the development of more successful readers.

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disorder that affects how a person pays attention, sits still and control his or her behaviour. It happens in children, teens, and can continue to adulthood. Its usually diagnosed in the early school years when a child has difficulty to focus his or her attention into almost any thing. Other signs of ADHD include forget fullness, difficulty organizing, day dreaming, interrupting others, impatience. ADHD can be caused by genes, poor nutrition, infections or a brain injury. Although there are ways in which parents can play a part by providing good nutrition and healthy living habits for the child, the best guidance for these children can be received from ADHD Professionals who can develop an effective treatment plan for the child.


Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that makes math really challenging. Common symptoms of Dyscalculia include difficulty with number sense and difficulty with facts and calculations. Kids with dyscalculia struggle a lot more then kids of their normal age. Dyscalculia can easily be diagnosed in kindergarten if a child has difficulty counting or skip over numbers, struggle to identify pattern like smallest to largest or vice versa and cannot connect a number to corresponding visual objects. Common causes of Dyscalculia is also linked to genes and brain development. Dyscalculia can be treated by appropriate intervention strategies in schools.


Dysgraphia is a learning difficulty that is recognized by a distorted or unclear handwriting. Although illegible handwriting is the most common sign of dysgraphia, messy handwriting is not always the sign. Symptoms of dysgraphia also include incorrect spelling or capitalization, difficulty copying words, slow writing pace, saying words aloud while writing. In children, dysgraphia can be genetic or can manifest on its own. In adults, dysgraphia result from a stroke or brain injury. Children with dysgraphia can benefit by receiving support from school, from therapists outside of school and by trying strategies at home.

In short, around 10 percent of the world population suffers some kind of learning disability. Effective strategies are now being put into place to help learners with these disabilities. The majority of these learners will need some sort of support in school to carry out their learning.

About the Author:

Beenish Mahmood is an Administrative professional with years of experience working with children with special needs. She also volunteers at Literacy South Halton tutoring adults with Down Syndrome and Learning Difficulties. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, travelling, and serving the community.

School photo created by shangarey – www.freepik.com