Learning Disorders

A student may have a learning disorder if his achievement in reading, writing, or mathematics falls below his age, grade, and intelligence level. For a student to have a learning disorder, the problems must have a negative impact on his academic success or another important area of life requiring math, reading, or writing skills. In this article, we will answer some questions that parents may have about learning disorders.

What are the Different Types of Learning Disorders?

There are three major types of learning disorders:

  • Reading disorder
  • Mathematics disorder
  • Disorder of written expression

What Signs of Learning Disorders Should I Look for?

In addition to the problems associated with the specific type of learning disorder, many students also suffer from:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Socialization problems
  • Increased dropout rate at school

Learning disorders may also come with:

  • Conduct disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Depression

Do Learning Disorders Affect Males, Females, or Both?

Learning disorders can affect both males and females. However, in the United States, more boys than girls are diagnosed with learning disorders.

At What Age do Learning Disorders Appear?

Although learning disorders are most likely present when a child is very young, the specific type of learning disorder is usually diagnosed in early elementary school when reading, math, and writing begin to be used in the classroom.

How Prevalent are Learning Disorders in our Society?

About 5% of students in the United States have a learning disorder.

How are Learning Disorders Diagnosed?

To diagnose a learning disorder, special, psychoeducational tests are individually administered to the child. In administering the test, the examiner should give special attention to the child’s ethnic and cultural background.

How are Learning Disorders Treated?

Specialized educational methods are a part of the treatment. In addition to special classroom instruction at school, students with learning disorders frequently benefit from individualized tutoring which focuses on their specific learning problem.

Developed by John L. Miller, MD
Reviewed 7/2000

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