A learning disability is an information
processing deficit. Most researchers believe that it is neurologically
based. There are many kinds of learning disabilities and they
affect the way people receive, process, store, and respond to
People with a learning disability often have average or above average intelligence, but the information they receive or process is distorted. It may be like trying to watch a fuzzy TV or listen to a radio without good reception.
"Specific learning disability" means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes (but is not limited to) such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Having a single term to describe this category of children with disabilities reduces some of the confusion, but there are many conflicting theories about what causes learning disabilities and how many there are. The label "learning disabilities" is all-embracing; it describes a syndrome, not a specific child with specific problems. The definition assists in classifying children, not teaching them. Parents and teachers need to concentrate on the individual child.
They need to observe both how and how well the child performs, to assess strengths and weaknesses, and develop ways to help each child learn. It is important to remember that there is a high degree of interrelationship and overlapping among the areas of learning. Therefore, children with learning disabilities may exhibit a combination of characteristics. These problems may mildly, moderately, or severely impair the learning process.
Definition of Learning Disabilities by Kidsource online
1. The student does not receive information commensurate with his/her age and ability levels in one or more of seven specific areas when provided with learning experiences appropriate for the child's age and ability level.
2. The student has a significant discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the following areas:
a. oral expression e. reading comprehension b. listening comprehension f. mathematics calculation c. written expression g. mathematics reasoning d. basic reading skill
A learning disability is different for every individual. However, some signs that might indicate a learning disability are:
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- 1. Spoken language: delays, disorders, or discrepancies in listening and speaking
- 2. Written language: difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling
- 3. Arithmetic: difficulty in performing arithmetic functions or in comprehending basic concepts
- 4. Reasoning: difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts
- 5. Organization skills: difficulty in organizing all facets of learning
Although there exist many teaching programs designed especially for LD children, Reynolds and Birch (1982) have suggested that the instruction required by most children who are labeled LD, educable mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, or behavior disordered is not readily distinguishable. A team approach is advocated to provide for their education in the mainstream setting.
Myers and Hammill (1982) underlined the importance for resource or special class teachers to match instructional systems in use in the regular classroom. Such an approach allows for discovering ways to modify the system for particular students as well as preparing them to return to the regular program.
Because learning disabilities are manifested in a variety of behavior patterns, the Individual Education Program (IEP) must be designed carefully. A team approach is important for educating the child with a learning disability, beginning with the assessment process and continuing through the development of the IEP. Close collaboration among special class teachers, parents, resource room teachers, regular class teachers, and others will facilitate the overall development of a child with learning disabilities.
Teachers report that the following strategies have been effective with some students who have learning disabilities:
The previous information was taken from two sources: The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, and Bill Clopton, Disability Management Advisor, Learning Disabilities, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California
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