The Different Types of Learning Disabilities
There are several different types of learning disabilities, and each one affects a different area of learning such as math, reading, or motor skills. It is called a disability for a reason; it is not just a block that makes it difficult for the student to learn. It is a neurological disorder that affects how the brain receives information and how it processes and stores that information.
Many people think someone with a learning disability is simply lazy or lacking in intelligence, but this is simply not the case. Learning disabilities affect how the brain is wired. If the child is taught in a way that works with the disability instead of against it, the child can learn just as easily as one without a disability. Some of the most common learning disabilities include:
ADD/ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are essentially the same; however ADD lacks the restlessness of ADHD and is more prevalent in the female population. ADD/ADHD is characterized by an inability to prioritize and focus on tasks, problems paying attention, an inability to control impulses and restlessness.
ADHD is not technically a learning disability, although it does interfere with one’s ability to receive information. Most people with learning disabilities also have ADHD. It can be inherited and can last well into adolescence and adulthood.
Autism: Autism is a part of a larger category called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which includes autism, Asperger syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). ASD affects early neuronal development in the womb by changing how the neurons and synapses organize and connect. This changes how the brain processes information.
Dyscalculia: Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that involves mathematics. It is typically the result of problems with visual-spacial processing or difficulty processing language. Learning disabilities involving math vary widely, and can include difficulties finding patterns in math problems, understanding the vocabulary of math or difficulty processing advanced calculations.
Dysgraphia: Dysgraphia affects the motor skills required in writing. It can cause poor handwriting and issues with spelling as well as affect the ability to translate thoughts into words on paper. Many people with this learning disability have difficulty organizing letters, numbers and words on a single line or an entire page.
Dyslexia: Probably the most well-known and definitely the most common learning disability, dyslexia affects the ability to read, write, and spell. It can also affect speech making it difficult to organize thoughts in a conversation. Some people with dyslexia also have difficulty with the ability to tell right from left. It is a neurological disorder that the person is born with and is a lifelong disability.
Dyspraxia: Dyspraxia is a learning disability that affects motor skills, specifically the ability to plan and execute fine motor tasks. Many people with dyspraxia also have difficulty with memory, specifically short-term memory. It is more prevalent in men and is thought to affect approximately two percent of the population. Approximately 50 percent of those with dyspraxia also have ADHD.
Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders: Another common learning disorder, auditory and visual processing disorders affect the way the person processes information received through hearing or vision. Most information is communicated verbally or visually, and this makes learning extremely difficult for people with these disorders.
Nonverbal Learning Disorders: Nonverbal learning disorders are often mistaken for misconduct because of the inability to correctly process visual cues such as body language, the tone in which something is said and facial expressions. Nonverbal disabilities make it difficult to form relationships and interact with other people.