Types of Disabilities

What Are Learning Disabilities?

The term “learning disability” is used to describe a wide range of learning difficulties.  People with learning disabilities are just as smart as those without, but their brains are wired differently.  This difference affects how they receive and process information. The fact that they see, hear, and understand things differently, means they can run into problems learning new concepts, skills, and information.

Types of Learning Disabilities

Dyslexia: Learning Disabilities in Reading

There are two types of learning disabilities in reading. Basic reading problems occur when there is difficulty understanding the relationship between sounds, letters and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when there is an inability to grasp the meaning of words, phrases, and paragraphs.

Signs of reading difficulty include problems with:

  • letter and word recognition
  • understanding words and ideas
  • reading speed and fluency
  • general vocabulary skills
Dyscalculia: Learning Disabilities in Math

Learning disabilities in math vary greatly depending on the individual’s other strengths and weaknesses. A person’s ability to do math will be affected differently by a language learning disability, or a visual disorder or a difficulty with sequencing, memory or organization.

A person with a math-based learning disorder may struggle with memorization and organization of numbers, operation signs, and number “facts” (like 5+5=10 or 5×5=25).  People with math learning disorders might also have trouble with counting principles (such as counting by twos or counting by fives) or have difficulty telling time.

Dysgraphia: Learning Disabilities in Writing

Learning disabilities in writing can involve the physical act of writing or the mental activity of comprehending and synthesizing information. Basic writing disorder refers to physical difficulty forming words and letters. Expressive writing disability indicates a struggle to organize thoughts on paper.

Symptoms of a written language learning disability revolve around the act of writing. They include problems with:

  • neatness and consistency of writing
  • accurately copying letters and words
  • spelling consistency
  • writing organization and coherence
Dyspraxia: Learning Disabilities in Motor Skills

Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills (cutting, writing) or gross motor skills (running, jumping). A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an “output” activity meaning that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to run, jump, write or cut something, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.

Signs that an individual might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand-eye coordination, like holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt.

Aphasia/Dysphasia: Learning Disabilities in Language

Language and communication learning disabilities involve the ability to understand or produce spoken language. Language is also considered an output activity because it requires organizing thoughts in the brain and calling upon the right words to verbally explain something or communicate with someone else.

Signs of a language-based learning disorder involve problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to retell a story and the fluency of speech, as well as the ability to understand the meaning of words, parts of speech, directions, etc.

Auditory Processing Disorder

Professionals may refer to the ability to hear well as “auditory processing skills” or “receptive language.” The ability to hear things correctly greatly impacts the ability to read, write and spell. An inability to distinguish subtle differences in sound, or hearing sounds at the wrong speed make it difficult to sound out words and understand the basic concepts of reading and writing.

Visual Processing Disorder

Problems in visual perception include missing subtle differences in shapes, reversing letters or numbers, skipping words, skipping lines, misperceiving depth or distance, or having problems with eye–hand coordination. Professionals may refer to the work of the eyes as “visual processing.” Visual perception can affect gross and fine motor skills, reading comprehension, and math.

A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

People with ADHD often have problems sitting still, staying focused, following instructions, staying organized, and completing tasks.

We have listed some of the learning disabilities.  For a more extensive list, please click on the link below.