Learning Disabilities

  • A learning disability is a lifelong disability that is the result of a lifelong, neurobiological disorder that is developmental in nature. Learning disabilities are hidden disabilities. They permeate every aspect of an individual's life, obstructing his or her ability to learn; develop appropriate motor, language, organizational and social skills; and perform activities of daily living.
  • Learning disabilities impede the ability to store, process or produce information. People with learning disabilities have trouble learning because their minds process words or information differently then people who learn normally. Learning disabilities can affect the ability to read, write, speak, or compute math and can impair one's ability to build social relationships.
  • Learning disabilities can occur along with, and be complicated by, problems in attention and the development of social skills.
  • Learning disabilities have distinct characteristics and should not be confused with intellectual disability, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavior disorders. None of these conditions are learning disabilities.
  • Approximately one out of seven Americans experiences some type of learning disability.

  • People with learning disabilities are generally of normal or above average intelligence. Their learning disability, however, creates a gap between ability and performance.
  • Learning disabilities often run in families.
  • Fifty percent of all public school students in special education have learning disabilities. Deficits in basic reading skills are the most common and often the most debilitating forms of learning disabilities. 80-85% of students with learning disabilities who receive special education and related services have their basic deficits in language and reading.

Sources: The International Dyslexia Association (2008); Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York (2007)