What are Learning Disabilities? Can children with learning disabilities learn?


Probably the most important thing to realize about learning disabilities is that it means your child CAN learn.  He may even be intellectually gifted and still have a learning disability like ADHD, Asperger’s, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, or executive dysfunction.

Conversely, a child may also have a low IQ, but he may not be “mentally impaired.” If he is diagnosed with a learning disability, it means your child can learn. That is part of the clinical definition for a learning disability.

Kids with Specific Learning Disabilities CAN Learn

This is one of the important characteristicss about learning disabilities for you to know because many times children with learning disabilities are treated as if they cannot learn. However, being able to learn is a fundamental difference between being diagnosed as mentally impaired versus having a learning disability.  Even when children are diagnosed as mentally impaired, they can still have an ability to learn.

How to Teach Kids with Learning Disabilities like ADHD, Asperger’s, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Executive Dysfunction

Every child CAN learn if taught according to the child’s individual learning style using multi-sensory instruction, has his critical cognitive needs met, and is allowed to learn at his or her own learning pace.

Not every child will be able to learn Algebra or understand British Literature, but most children can learn to read, write, and perform basic math calculations.

What exactly is a learning disability?

The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), defines Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) as “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

According to the IDEA federal laws, Specific Learning Disabilities are NOTlearning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.”  [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.7(c)(10)]

In other words, learning disabilities are NOT caused by a physical area of interference with learning, which would include ocular motor deficiencies (requiring vision therapy), Attention deficits (requiring medication), bipolar disorder (requiring medication), scotopic sensitivity (requiring colored glasses or pages), etc. 

Learning disabilities are neurological in origin and cannot be medicated or treated by some external device such as glasses, hearing aids, augmented speech devices, etc. Kids with Learning Disabilities can, however, be taught using PROVEN methods and programs, which significantly minimizes the affect of the learning disability on a child’s school success.

Examples of Learning Disabilities

A child with learning disabilities may have:

Evaluation and Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities

There are many learning difficulties and combinations of learning disabilities, which makes it difficult for you to determine where your child’s problem lies through mere observation. You may be able to determine your child has difficulty conveying what he has learned, but you won’t be able to observe the neurological processes in his brain. You cannot see whether your child has an information retrieval problem, a long-term memory problem, a communication-based problem, etc. 

Therefore, it is immensely helpful to have an independent neuropsychological evaluation by a qualified practitioner to determine the root causes of your child’s learning struggles.

It’s virtually impossible to actually overcome your child’s learning difficulties if you don’t know the root causes of his neurological difficulties. If you have the specifics on your child’s areas of difficulty, you can chose proven programs designed to meet your child’s specific learning needs.

Having an evaluation can also help you know your child’s strengths and how best to teach your child.

The Learning Abled Kids’ website provides information on various disabilities, but always keep in mind that this is not professional advice and no one can ‘evaluate’ your child without individualized testing and working with your child.

The information provided here is most helpful when you already know what your child’s disabilities are.

Always keep in mind too–Your child is uniquely gifted with his strengths and weaknesses. It is up to you to have your child evaluated to identify both strengths and weaknesses, and it is within your ability to meet your child’s learning needs when you know his needs.

Helpful Reading About Learning Disabilities and Homeschooling to Overcome Struggles:

You may want to check out the books I’ve written detailing how to Overcome Learning Disabilities through Homeschooling,

Learning Disabilities: A to Z: A Parent’s Complete Guide to Learning Disabilities from Preschool to Adulthood

Help for the Struggling Student: Ready-to-Use Strategies and Lessons to Build Attention, Memory, and Organizational Skills

Complete Learning Disabilities Handbook: Ready-to-Use Strategies & Activities for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities

Smart but Stuck: Emotional Aspects of Learning Disabilities and Imprisoned Intelligence

Teaching Learning Strategies and Study Skills To Students with Learning Disbilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, or Special Needs

Look for other Learning Disabilities books

Best Wishes for Success!