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Help With Specific Learning Disorder

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Specific learning disorder often referred to as learning disorder or learning disability) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins during school-age, although may not be recognized until adulthood. Learning disabilities refers to ongoing problems in one of three areas, reading, writing and math, which are foundational to one’s ability to learn.

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Additude: Attention Deficit and Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
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My daughter (4th grade) struggles with reading. I am concerned she may have a learning disorder. Her teacher tells me not to worry about it. Where do I go to find out if she has a problem that can be addressed?

Learning disorders are present when a significant difference exists between a student’s intelligence and her academic performance. The best way to determine the presence of a learning disorder is to have your child undergo academic testing. (Also be sure to rule out any problems with vision.) Your school district can arrange for testing but children must meet certain criteria. Some parents seek evaluation by psychologists or other educational specialists in the community. I would suggest that you pursue having academic testing to get a clear answer for your concerns. Read More

After several years of struggling in math, my son has been diagnosed as having a learning disability in math. Now what? What type of special services will help him? How can I help him and be sure he is getting the help he needs at school?

Federal law mandates that students who have learning disabilities receive assistance in the public schools. Special services include extended time for tests and projects, which can benefit a student with a learning disability. Individual time with a teacher to help your son with learning in math is often added in school settings. Some schools will provide before and after school tutoring times as well. As a parent, you can help your son by staying in close communication with his teacher to see how he is making progress. You can check in daily with your son to hear his perceptions as to how he is learning. Many communities have tutoring programs in which your child can have additional learning opportunities during his summer break to strengthen his math skills. Get information about and take advantage of the resources in both your school system and your community to help your child. Read More

As an adult, I think I may have had a learning disability in reading – is there somewhere I can go to get tested (just for my own understanding)? And if so, is there anything I can do at this point to make reading easier for me?

The best way to get a clear understanding of your ability in reading as an adult is to have educational testing. A psychologist or educational diagnostician can provide an assessment and clarify whether you have a learning disability in reading. And yes, there are things you can do to improve your proficiency in reading. Having an understanding of the specific difficulties you may have in reading can assist your evaluator in giving you recommendations of ways in which you can improve your reading skills. Read More


About the Expert:

Debra Atkisson, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Benbrook, Texas

Gina's Story

Gina was 12 years old and finishing 6th grade. Her grades had been straight As in all her classes until 5th grade. Then she began struggling with reading and writing assignments and her grades dropped to Bs. In 6th grade her grades declined further to Cs. Her mother had been working with her at home and had noted that Gina was taking much longer to finish her reading assignments.

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Disability hate crime is an issue we face every day, but is not often talked about (Report, 10 May). Figures showing that online disability hate crime has hit record levels in England and Wales are very concerning, and highlight that we need to talk about the issue in order to tackle it. For too long, I and other people with learning disabilities have been excluded from digital spaces out of fear of abuse. We have a right to feel safe online. What needs to change is the behaviour of the abusers, not the victims.

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A total of 17 parents, including actress Lori Loughlin, submitted not guilty pleas in federal court in Boston this week in relation to the college admissions scam. They insist they are innocent. But as the scandal unravels, many people have been shocked to learn some families allegedly sought to have their children diagnosed with a disability. Students with learning differences fear they will be the ones who suffer the backlash. PIX11 explains why.

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School psychologists help identify, evaluate and assist students with specific disabilities. School psychologists help identify, evaluate and assist students with disabilities that affect their learning. Disabilities ranging from specific learning disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, other health impairment, emotional disturbance, autism spectrum disorder, and others can all affect a student’s ability to learn. These children may have problems reading, listening, speaking, spelling, writing or doing math as well as following classroom expectations or managing behaviors appropriately.