Learning Disabilities Across the Lifespan
General information about the nature of learning disabilities: symptoms, types of learning disabilities, diagnostic tests, etc.
Junior/Senior High School
What are Learning Disabilities?
A learning disability (LD) is a lifelong disorder that affects how people with normal or above average intelligence select, retain, and express information. Incoming or outgoing information may become disorganized as it travels between the senses and the brain.
A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. As Public Law 101-476, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), defines a learning disability.
Learning disabilities are often characterized by a significant difference in the individual's achievement in some areas, as compared to his or her overall intelligence. Current terms used to identify specific learning disabilities include:
- Speech/language impaired
- Developmentally delayed
- Reading/writing disorders
What is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)?
AD/HD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development. This pattern must be observed for six months or longer for a diagnosis to be made.
Symptoms of AD/HD include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Fails to give close attention to details
- Demonstrates difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or to play
- Is easily distracted
- Has difficulty finishing tasks
- Exhibits difficulty organizing tasks
- Loses things necessary for activities (e.g., pencils, books, assignments)
- Fidgets with hands and feet or squirms often
- Has difficulty remaining seated
- Runs about or climbs excessively when inappropriate (seems "motor-driven")
- Talks continually
- Blurts out answers before questions are completed and often interrupts others
- Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g. schoolwork or homework)
With early intervention, support and the appropriate teaching techniques and strategies, the negative impact of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders often can be minimized or overcome, and individuals can lead productive, successful lives.
Learning disabilities for parents
Learning Disabilities Association of America