Did you know?

The number of learning disabled students has tripled in the last 30 years, are comprise the fastest growing group of students with disabilities.

What is a learning disability (LD)?

A learning disability (LD) is a hidden disability. Unlike the student who uses a wheelchair or a seeing-eye dog, the student with a learning disability shows no visible characteristics of a disability. Because it is a hidden disability and many times goes undiagnosed, the person may have experienced being labeled as slow learners or stupid. On the contrary, s tudents with learning disabilities generally have average to above average intelligence but may have difficulties acquiring and demonstrating knowledge and understanding. A learning disability is an information processing, storage, or retrieval problem, not an intelligence problem.

Individuals with learning disabilities have deficits in one or more of the following areas:

  • oral comprehension
  • nonverbal reasoning
  • expressive language
  • coordination
  • academic skills
  • integration of information
  • attention
  • visual/spatial perception
  • organizational skills
  • social judgement

Learning disabilities are quite common.

According to the National Council on Disability (2003), students with disabilities are estimated to represent nearly 10 percent of all higher education students in the United States, almost half of whom were diagnosed as learning disabled (Skinner & Lindstrom, 2003). Furthermore, learning disabilities is the fastest growing disability category among college freshmen (Cobb, 2002).

Many successful individuals have learning disabilities.

The accomplishments of notable learning disabled individuals such as Albert Einstein, Bruce Jenner, and Leonard da Vinci serve as examples of the tremendous potential that can be realized by individuals despite this type of disability. According to a Cass Business School survey 1 in 3 entrepreneurs self-report that they are learning disabled.   


Causes of learning disabilities.

The specific causes of learning disabilities are not clearly understood; however, these disorders are presumably related to central nervous system dysfunction.   This results in a lack of achievement for age and ability level, and a severe discrepancy between their achievement and intellectual abilities.


In s ummary
  • Learning disabilities (LD) are hidden disabilities
  • Most people with LD have average to above average intelligence
  • LD is an information processing, storage, or retrieval problem, not an intelligence problem
  • Any stage of the biochemical process of learning can contain a defect while the other stages remain unaffected
  • LD is quite common
  • People with LD are found throughout the work force: entry level positions to CEO's. 1 in 3 entrepreneurs self-identify as LD.
  • With technology, people with LD can be successful in all areas of employment
  • Learning disabilities are individualized; any generalizations about specific signs or symptoms are of limited value.
Last Modified 3/26/10