Learning Disabilities: Some Essential Details

A person is said to have learning disability if he/she is unable to learn in a typical manner in several areas of functioning. The causes for the condition are yet to be known. However, the affected persons are able to learn in another way - one that is different from the ‘typical manner’ in which majority of the population learns. This distinction is important from the point of view of misconceptions other people may have about the condition. It also goes a long way in avoiding negative portrayal of the affected persons in the society.

The learning disability should not be confused with learning disorder. Disorder does not require an official diagnosis. It can be defined as learning problems on a large scale in an academic area. However, disability is an official clinical diagnosis and the affected person is required to meet specific criteria as decided by a medical professional such as a psychologist. Learning disorder is a set of disorders marked by deficient development academic, language, and speech skills. Dyslexia, the reading disorder, is probably the most well known of the learning disorders.

The brain's ability to receive and process information is affected by a yet to be determined factor, resulting in making it problematic for a person to learn as quickly or in the same way as someone without learning disability. In other words, the conventional ways of learning causes problems for people with learning disabilities to follow and to keep pace with. The challenges people with learning disabilities face are often prevail throughout their life.

The causes for learning disabilities are yet to be determined and many a time they are not evident. Heredity, complications during pregnancy and childbirth, illness or injury, exposure to alcohol or drugs while in the womb, low birth weight, oxygen deprivation due to premature or prolonged labour, and malnutrition are sometimes responsible for perpetuating the condition.

Interventions are typically used to help the affected person learn strategies for future success. The execution of the intervention requires social support and participation from teachers and parents to be really effective. Interventions include a variety of methods such as

  1. Mastery Model where learners work at their own level of mastery by practicing and gaining basic skills before moving onto the next level.
  2. Direct Instruction involves learning scripted lesson plans in small increments and immediate correction of mistakes.
  3. Classroom adjustments involve alternative assignments and testing procedures.
  4. Technology based interventions such as use of word processors with spell checkers and dictionaries, and audio books are also effective.

 

Disclaimer:

The aim of the article is to be informative in a general way. Always seek expert medical advice.