Types of Learning Disabilities

Oral / Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit

Affects an individual’s understanding of what they read or of spoken language.

Individuals with Oral / Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit struggle with understanding and/or expressing language often in both oral and written forms.

These individuals often exhibit Specific Language Impairment related to deficits in semantic processing and syntactic processing.

Semantic processing relates to encoding the meaning of words. Syntactic processing relates to the understanding of the order of words and how that can change the meaning. For example, the sentences “The blanket is on the baby” and “The baby is on the blanket” use the same words, but have different meanings.

Affects an individual’s understanding of what they read or of spoken language.

Individuals with Oral / Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit struggle with understanding and/or expressing language often in both oral and written forms.

These individuals often exhibit Specific Language Impairment related to deficits in semantic processing and syntactic processing.

Semantic processing relates to encoding the meaning of words. Syntactic processing relates to the understanding of the order of words and how that can change the meaning. For example, the sentences “The blanket is on the baby” and “The baby is on the blanket” use the same words, but have different meanings.

 

Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities

Has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language and may have poor coordination.

Currently, non-verbal learning disabilities are not listed in IDEA or the DSM-5 as a specific type of learning disability. There is a developing body of research that indicates approximately 5 percent of individuals with learning disabilities display the cognitive and academic difficulties that are associated with nonverbal learning disabilities.

Research indicates that nonverbal learning disabilities are associated with impairment in three broad areas, including motoric skills, visual-spatial organizational memory, and social abilities.

Individuals with this type of learning disability have a well-developed vocabulary, as well as strong reading recognition ability and rote language skills.

Dysgraphia

Affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills.

Dysgraphia is a learning disability which involves impaired ability to produce legible and automatic letter writing and often numeral writing, the latter of which may interfere with math.

Dysgraphia is rooted in difficulty with storing and automatically retrieving letters and numerals.

Individuals with dysgraphia often have difficulties in Executive Functions (e.g., planning and organizing).

 

 

Dyscalculia

Affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts.

Individuals with this type of learning disability demonstrate impaired math calculation skills and difficulty understanding numbers and math facts.

Dyscalculia is associated with weaknesses in fundamental number representation and processing, which results in difficulties with quantifying sets without counting, using nonverbal processes to complete simple numerical operations, and estimating relative magnitudes of sets.

Because these math skills are necessary for higher-level math problem solving, quantitative reasoning is likely impaired for these individuals.

 

 

Dyslexia

Affects reading and related language-based processing skills.

Dyslexia is characterized by deficits in accurate and fluent word recognition.

Individuals with dyslexia struggle with word recognition, decoding, and spelling.

Reading comprehension is sometimes impaired due to very poor word reading skills.

Individuals with dyslexia often have deficits in phonemic and phonological awareness, which refer to the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the sound structure of a spoken word, including its phonemes, syllables, onsets and rimes.

Individuals with dyslexia may also have impaired orthographic processing, which interferes with connecting letters and letter combinations with sounds accurately and fluently.