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Learning Disabilities: Overview

A learning disability often exists in the presence of notable strengths. It is lifelong, but manifests differently over time. It is a neurologically based disorder of processing information. It impacts listening, thinking, speaking, reading, written language, spelling and/or math. A learning disability is NOT a kind of mental retardation or low intelligence. It is NOT a psychiatric disorder or physical disability. It is NOT a lack of motivation.

Below are some common types of learning disabilities:

Language Based
Listening: student is easily overloaded by auditory input, especially directions or detail-filled talk. Visual or kinesthetic (hands on) channels are often stronger.
Reading: student may struggle with speed, accuracy, vocabulary, comprehension, and seeing the main concept verses details.
Oral Expression: student may struggle with thinking of what to say, finding words, conceptualizing parts and whole, and elaborating on a given issue.
Written Expression: student may struggle with ideation, organization, sentence structure, grammar and spelling.

Non-verbal
Social skills: student can miss social cues or misinterpret non-verbal communication.
Part-whole understanding/weak generalization: student may “miss the forest for the trees”, by focusing on detail at the expense of the big picture. This may occur in writing and/or reading comprehension. Student may have difficulty with inferences and synthesis.
Visual/spatial organization (and math): student will have difficulty with visual spatial understanding and abstract concepts.

ADD/ADHD
Attention & Impulsivity: student has trouble maintaining attention and focusing. Student may have occasional hyperactivity. Medication is common and can affect alertness, sleep, and eating habits.
Executive Function: student has difficulty organizing, planning, starting, monitoring, remembering to do, completing, having sense of time, studying effectively, and keeping track of belongings and due dates.
Sources of processing difficulty may be memory (storage and retrieval), working memory (trouble with multi-tasking), processing speed, visual-motor skills, visual detail, sequencing, and/or auditory.

LD Support
Not only do we advocate for our students, but we also offer numerous amount of support for our students’ needs. We aid students in the development of study skills, reading strategies, and organizational skills. We make personal assessments of each student’s strengths and weaknesses and communicate with his/her family, providing assessments of his/her progress. Not only do we help our students with academic problem solving, but we also strive to help him/her grow in self-advocacy and independence. We have tutors available with master-level degrees in special education. We have an abundance of experience working with students who are part of the special-ed system and need additional services that support their alternative learning styles/abilities.