Types Of Learning Disabilities

Click on the name of the learning disability to learn more about it.

Dyslexia

About the Disability

Dyslexia is defined as an inherited, neurologically-based condition, varying in degrees of severity that makes it extremely difficult to read, write and spell in your native language, despite at least average intelligence. This definition is full of important information that must be looked at piece by piece if we are to understand dyslexia and how it affects both children and adults.

First of all, dyslexia is inherited. It is in fact the most heritable of the reading disabilities, affecting 1 in 5 people. It is carried on up to three chromosomes. The main marker is chromosome #6, but it can also be carried on #2 and #15. Chromosome #6 is the one responsible for phonemic awareness, the number one factor involved in dyslexia.

Dyslexia is neurologically based. You are born dyslexic and will be dyslexic your entire life. Although you can develop coping strategies that help, dyslexia does not go away.

Symptoms

Dyslexia also affects more than reading. Dyslexics have difficulty with many tasks including:

  • Language processing difficulties: both receptive and expressive
  • Handwriting
  • Directionality
  • Sequencing
  • Rote memorization
  • Time Concepts and Management
  • Organization of Physical Space
  • Mechanics of Math
  • May have ADHD like symptoms
Asperger's Syndrome
Nonverbal Learning Disability

About the Disability

The very name is misleading. Despite the name, these children have superior verbal skills. Their difficulties lie in interpreting nonverbal cues and the subtleties of speech such as facial expression, body language, inferences and sarcasm. On a WISC there will be a marked discrepancy between the verbal score and the performance score.

Children with a nonverbal learning disability often struggle with writing and note taking, social skills, some aspects of math such as geometry and pattern replication, poor coordination, difficulties with fine motor skills and difficulty adjusting to new situations and making transitions.

Unlike language based learning disabilities that can be detected in the early years, most children with NLD are not diagnosed until Grade 3 or later. Another difference is that NLD gets worse with age, as more of our language because nonverbal and there is more emphasis placed on social skills.

Symptoms

Social difficulties consistent with NLD:

  • Difficulty making and keeping friends.
  • Inappropriate social behaviours that are seen as “weird”.
  • Unsuitable conversation.
  • Lack of understanding of personal space, boundary and privacy issues.
  • Difficulty maintaining social conversation.
  • Fixation on certain topics or interests that are not “normal” for their age.
  • Often humour is lost on them as they interpret language literally.
  • Sarcasm and threats are lost on them.
  • Difficulty seeing someone else’s perspective which is often seen as a lack of empathy.
  • Naively trusting of others.
  • Does not embrace the concept of dishonesty.
  • Has trouble recognizing lying and deception in other children.
  • Sees everything in black and white – true and false.
  • Needs a strict routine and has difficulty with change.
Gifted L.D.

About the Disability

Many children at our school have a dual diagnosis of gifted L.D.  They are extremely bright but have deficits in other areas.  Our small class sizes and experienced teachers allow us to individualize the program so that this group is challenged in the areas they excel at but feel supported in areas where they struggle.  It is not enough to just feed the passion, we must close the gap.  Likewise, we cannot be so focused on the deficit that this group becomes bored and begins to hate learning.  Also, it is important to know that gifted kids do not need more work – they need different work.  They need enrichment activities that allow them to explore their interests, not more questions for homework!

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