What are learning disorders?

Students with learning disorders struggle in reading, writing, mathematics, and fall below what is expected for the child’s development. To be called a learning disorder, the problems must have a negative impact on the person’s academic success or another important area of life requiring math, reading, or writing skills.

What are the different types of learning disorders?

Therefore there are three major types of learning disorders:

  • Reading disorder
  • Mathematics disorder
  • Disorder of written expression

What signs are associated with these disorders?

In addition to the problems associated with the specific type of learning disorder, many students also suffer from:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Socialization problems
  • Increased dropout rate at school

Learning disorders are also associated with:

  • Conduct disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Depression

Do these disorders affect males, females, or both?

It can affect both males and females. Therefore in the United States more boys than girls are diagnosed with learning disorders.

At what age does it appear?

Although learning disorders are most likely present when a child is quite young, the specific type of disorder is usually diagnosed in early elementary school when reading, math, and writing begin to be used in the classroom.

How prevalent are is it in our society?

About five percent (5%) of students in the United States have learning disorders.

How are is it diagnosed?

Because standardized, group testing is not accurate enough for this purpose, it is very important that special, psychoeducational tests be individually administered to the child to determine if he/she has a learning disorder. As a result in administering the test, the examiner should give special attention to the child’s ethnic and cultural background.

How is it treated?

Hence these disorders are treated with specialized educational methods. In addition to special classroom instruction at school, students with learning disorders frequently benefit from individualized tutoring which focuses on their specific learning problem.

What can people do if they need help?

If you, a friend, or a family member would like more information and you have a therapist or a physician, please discuss your concerns with that person.

Developed by John L. Miller, MD
Reviewed 7/2000

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