A learning disability (LD) is a term used to describe a wide range of
learning problems that affect an individual’s abilities in the areas
of reading, reading comprehension, language comprehension, writing,
and math.


Learning involves four stages of information processing:


  • Input: the brain takes in and records information relayed by the senses;
  • Integration: the brain interprets the information;
  • Memory: the brain stores the information in a way that it can be
    retrieved later;
  • Output: the individual reproduces the information through language
    or motor activity.


People with learning disabilities have difficulty with one or more of these steps due to the brain
structure and function. It is therefore considered a neurological processing problem.  Difficulty taking in, organizing, and/or acting on information their brain receives through the senses, makes it difficult to apply skills in one or more academic areas that ultimately impairs an individual’s achievement.


Although the problems are based on brain structure and function, a learning disability is not a reflection of a person’s intelligence.  In fact, many individuals with learning difficulties demonstrate intellectual functioning in the average to above-average intelligence or may even be gifted. This contradiction allows the LD to remain hidden. Children may appear normal and bright and demonstrate superior skills in certain areas, but there is typically a large gap between how smart they are and what they are able to achieve, because of the roadblocks their brain sets up that keep them from processing information. A hallmark of LD therefore, is that people who have them consistently learn below their intellectual capabilities. When children present specific areas of weakness they are unable to overcome, a LD should be considered and ruled out.


Although some learning disabilities are detected in early childhood, some children do not show clear signs of learning disabilities. One reason is that problems do not always manifest in school work, rather, they can also be disguised as behavioral or emotional problems (i.e., acting out, laziness, disinterest, depression, withdrawal) if the child is either frustrated or ashamed of what they consider to be a deficit.


Some good indications of a learning disability include lack of comprehension for what most others might consider simple tasks, consistent need for step by step guidance, inability to remember or apply logic required to comprehend tasks, and an inability to transfer acquired skills to other tasks. Early detection and intervention for a learning disability is critical.


Our licensed psychologists are trained to provide comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations to diagnose learning disorders.


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