A learning disorder is an information-processing problem that results in weakness or inefficiency in brain function that significantly hinders the ability to learn and also prevents a person from effectively using a skill.
Learning disorders can be of multiple types and usually affect people of average or above-average intelligence. In short, learning disabilities are categorized as neurodevelopmental disorders that appear as a barrier between expected skills based on age, intelligence, and academic performance.
A person with a learning disability may also have some difficulties:
- Understanding complicated information.
- Learning skills that require higher cognitive functionalities.
- Looking after themselves while living independently.
Learning disabilities occur either due to genetic or neurobiological factors that alter brain functioning and affect more than one cognitive process related to skill development and learning.
These problems can interfere with basic skills such as reading, writing, or maths. They can also affect higher-level skills such as abstract reasoning, organization, time planning, long or short-term memory, and attention.
However, it is important to realize that learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond academics and can also exert a negative impact on their relationships with friends, family, and the workplace.
Learning disabilities can develop in people of all races, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds. They are usually present from birth to early childhood and can persist throughout a person’s life if proper treatment is not received.
Signs of Learning Disabilities in Children
Learning disabilities in children can make it challenging to keep up with their fellows academically and can lead to frustration and behavioral issues. Children with learning disabilities also struggle with low self-esteem and are reluctant during social interactions.
Therefore, it is important for children with learning disabilities to receive proper support and accommodations so they can succeed emotionally and academically.
Signs of Learning Disabilities in Adults
Learning disabilities in adults negatively impact their ability to learn and process information. However, in some cases, adults usually develop strategies or coping mechanisms to help them compensate for their learning disabilities.
They also have more resources and life experience, such as support from family and friends, to help them manage their problems in a better way.
Moreover, it is important to remember that every person with a learning disability is different, and the impact of these disabilities can vary greatly depending on the particular individual.
Common Causes of Learning Disabilities
Factors that influence the development of learning disorders usually include:
- Family history and genetics. A family history of learning disorders significantly increases the chances of a child developing this disorder.
- Psychological Trauma: Psychological trauma or abuse in childhood might also affect brain functioning and development, which increases the risk of learning disorders.
- Physical Trauma: Nervous system infections or head injuries may also result in the development of learning disorders.
- Environmental exposure. Exposure to high toxins, such as lead, has also been linked to an increased risk of developing learning disorders.
Different Types of Learning Disabilities
Dyslexia is a language-processing disorder that affects an individual’s abilities to read, write, and fathom information. Dyslexics usually exhibit difficulty while decoding words and identifying individual sounds within words.
This learning disorder often goes undiagnosed for many years and results in trouble with grammar, reading, reading comprehension, and other language skills.
Dysgraphia is a type of neurological disorder in which people find difficulty turning their thoughts into written language, and it also affects their ability to think to a great extent, despite exposure to adequate education and instructions.
Dysgraphia generally occurs with various different symptoms at different ages and is considered to be one of the major learning disabilities.
Auditory Processing Disorder:
In auditory processing disorder (APD), patients find trouble while processing sounds. Individuals with this learning disorder may also confuse the order of different kinds of sounds or are unable to filter sounds.
In auditory processing disorder, the brain usually misinterprets the information received and processed from the ear.
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities:
Nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD) result in problems that cause an individual’s inability to speak. NVLD typically refers to difficulties in decoding nonverbal behaviors or social cues.
People suffering from this disorder also find trouble understanding tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, or the nonverbal aspects of communication.
Language Processing Disorder:
Language Processing Disorder (LPD) is a type of learning disability that manifests itself in written and oral deficits regarding comprehension and language. This disorder can lead to problems with transferring information to the brain, morphing input into clear mental images, and understanding input.
What are the treatments for learning disabilities?
Learning disabilities usually have no cure, but early intervention and care can lessen their effects. People with learning disabilities generally develop ways to cope with their disabilities as they age.
However, getting help earlier increases the chance of success in academics and later in life. If learning disabilities remain untreated, a child may feel frustrated due to his inability to learn and interpret information properly, leading to low self-esteem and other problems.
Experts can significantly help such children learn skills by building on the child’s strengths and finding different ways to compensate for the child’s weaknesses. However, interventions greatly vary depending on the nature and extent of the disabilities.