A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to receive, process, store, and respond to information. The term learning disability is used to describe the seemingly unexplained difficulty a person of at least average intelligence has in acquiring basic academic skills. These skills are essential for success at school and work, and for coping with life in general. Most students affected by learning disabilities have more than one kind.
People with verbal learning disabilities have difficulty with words, both spoken and written. The most common and best-known verbal learning disability is dyslexia which causes people to have trouble recognizing or processing letters and the sounds associated with them. For this reason, people with dyslexia have trouble with reading and writing tasks or assignments. [Kirk, S. A. (1962). Educating exceptional children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (p. 261).]
What is the cause of learning disabilities?
No one’s exactly sure what causes learning disabilities. But researchers do have some theories as to why they develop. They include genetic influences, brain development – both before and after birth, and environmental impacts.
How many students have learning disabilities?
Nearly four million school-age children and teens have learning disabilities, Other research states that as many as 1 out of every 5 people in the United States has some kind of learning disability. In fact, over half of all children who receive special education have a learning disability (Twenty-sixth Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Department of Education, 2006).
Why are there more boys than girls with learning disabilities?
Although three times more boys than girls are identified by schools as having learning disabilities, research studies show that, in fact, equal numbers of boys and girls have the most common form of learning problem—difficulty with reading. However, researchers have reported that, partially because girls tend to be inattentive rather than hyperactive and therefore less disruptive in school and at home, many girls go undiagnosed or are mistakenly believed to suffer from anxiety or depression as a primary diagnosis. One oft-quoted study suggests that as many as 75 percent of girls with ADHD may be missed.
What skills are needed for reading comprehension for students with learning disabilities?
Reading is a problem for many students with learning disabilities. The ability to read influences the child’s success across the curriculum and success in later years. They may lack skills in the ability to decode fluently; to recall specific stated information from a reading passage and to read and/or spell complex vocabulary and grammar. Additionally, children need critical thinking skills obtained through reading instruction.
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