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What Are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disabilities are neurodevelopmental conditions that affect an individual's ability to acquire, process, or express information effectively. These disabilities can manifest in various ways, such as difficulties in reading, writing, math, organization, attention, or problem-solving skills. Learning disabilities are not indicative of a person's intelligence; instead, they reflect specific challenges in specific areas of learning, often requiring tailored strategies, support, and interventions to help individuals overcome these obstacles and reach their full potential.

Millions of students across the United States have some type of learning disorder with over 30 percent within special education programs or services. Learning disorders, even in adults, are also prevalent but may go undetected or undiagnosed. Learning disabilities can affect a person’s ability to learn and retain new information, comprehend different concepts, stay organized, and pick up on social cues. 

Depending on the age of the individual, disabilities may have a different impact on their daily lives. Many disorders present themselves in childhood and are observed with difficulty learning new things in primary school. These disorders can carry to adulthood, but there are plenty of individuals with disabilities who go on to succeed and have a great quality of life.

Here are the most common learning disabilities in the United States:


It’s likely you’ve heard of Dyslexia, know someone who has it, or have struggled with it yourself. Dyslexia is the leading learning disability in the United States. Any person of any age or background can have Dyslexia, which causes difficulty reading letters, words, and processing languages. Because of these challenges, students may face obstacles in classes such as English, Writing, Language Classes, Speech, and more- anything that requires heavy reading and writing. Some common symptoms of Dyslexia include but are not limited to: 

-Difficulty reading, comprehending, and analyzing what you are reading

-Having trouble with listening to and breaking down words, rhymes, and syllables

-Challenges with writing, editing, and spelling words and phrases 

-Reversing or mixing up the order of letters within words 


In some ways, Dysgraphia is like Dyslexia in that the person who has it may have difficulty writing. This includes not being able to spell words properly, handwriting that is hard to read, and facing challenges with putting ideas together to write about. This can pose complications in classes involving writing including composing essays, research papers, editing, and more. 


This disorder restricts a person’s ability to understand various mathematical concepts. It is often difficult to accurately diagnose as many people do not like math or initially have trouble learning this subject. If a person is unable to solve math problems, understand mathematical ideas, and more after repeated attempts, they may have dyscalculia. Some concepts someone may struggle with include: 

-Solving problems and equations 

-Not understanding basic mathematics

-Difficulty counting or measuring 

This disorder is likely to cause challenges throughout primary and secondary school, and higher education depending on their major. 


This disorder is neurological and can affect the person’s ability to move physically. This will show in their motor skills, movement, hand-eye coordination, and how they balance. Since the disorder is neurological, it can cause the person difficulty in processing new information, making many academic subjects hard to learn. Diagnosing this disorder includes conducting a variety of assessments to determine if the person suffers from Dyspraxia. Some treatment options for someone with Dyspraxia include:

-Various physical therapies 

-Occupational therapy 

-Special education programs 

Academic classes this disorder can affect, are physical education and classes involving critical thinking or comprehension. 


Millions of kids across the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. This disorder prevents the person from concentrating, paying attention to one thing, impulsiveness, and increased energy or hyperactivity. This disorder is often easier to diagnose and to treat. If not treated, it can impact the student’s educational success. Some symptoms include: 

-Struggling with organization 

-Often forgetting things 

-Inability to sit for a long time or be still 

-Being unmotivated to complete tasks 

-Increased emotional mood swings 

ADHD can not only cause issues in academics, but adults with ADHD can have complications with their jobs, relationships, and more if not treated. 

Key Learning Disabilities facts:

  1.     Prevalence: Learning disabilities are relatively common, affecting approximately 10% of the population worldwide.
  2.     Not a Sign of Low Intelligence: Having a learning disability does not indicate low intelligence. Many individuals with learning disabilities are highly intelligent and talented in other areas.
  3.     Early Identification is Crucial: Early identification and intervention are critical for managing learning disabilities effectively and helping individuals reach their full potential.
  4.     Varied Manifestations: Learning disabilities can manifest in various ways, affecting reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), attention (ADHD), and more.
  5.     Lifelong Condition: Learning disabilities are typically lifelong conditions; however, with the right support and strategies, individuals can learn to manage and overcome many challenges.
  6.     Individualized Approaches: Effective support for learning disabilities often involves individualized education plans (IEPs) tailored to the specific needs of the individual.
  7.     Emotional Impact: Learning disabilities can have a significant emotional impact, leading to feelings of frustration, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Emotional support is crucial.
  8.     Neurobiological Basis: Learning disabilities have a neurobiological basis, often involving differences in brain structure and function.
  9.     Overlap with Other Conditions: Learning disabilities can co-occur with other conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or anxiety disorders, complicating diagnosis and treatment.
  10. Legal Protections: Many countries have laws in place to protect the rights of individuals with learning disabilities, ensuring equal access to education and accommodations in the workplace.
  11. Positive Outcomes: With appropriate interventions and support, individuals with learning disabilities can achieve academic and career success. Many well-known figures have learning disabilities.
  12. Parent and Teacher Involvement: Collaboration between parents, teachers, and specialists is essential in providing the best support for individuals with learning disabilities.
  13. Technological Assistance: Assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech software and graphic organizers, can greatly aid individuals with learning disabilities in their learning and communication.
  14. Continuing Research: Ongoing research and advancements in understanding learning disabilities are leading to improved diagnostic tools and more effective interventions.
  15. Community Resources: Various organizations and support groups are available to provide resources, information, and a sense of community for individuals and families affected by learning disabilities.

Understanding these facts can help reduce stigma, promote early intervention, and ensure that individuals with learning disabilities receive the support and accommodations they need to thrive academically and in their daily lives.


To learn more about disabilities and interacting with others with disorders, check out Hello, It's Me today.  


What is Dyslexia?

Explanation: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that primarily affects reading skills. It involves difficulty in recognizing and processing letters and words, leading to challenges in reading fluently and accurately. People with dyslexia often struggle with spelling and may require specialized reading instruction.

What is ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)?

Explanation: ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties in maintaining attention, controlling impulses, and regulating hyperactivity. Individuals with ADHD may struggle with focus, organization, and impulse control, impacting their academic and daily life functioning.

What is Dyscalculia?

Explanation: Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects mathematical skills. People with dyscalculia may have trouble understanding numerical concepts, performing arithmetic operations, and grasping mathematical symbols. It can lead to challenges in basic math and more advanced mathematical concepts.

What is Dysgraphia?

Explanation: Dysgraphia is a learning disability related to writing and fine motor skills. Individuals with dysgraphia often have difficulty with handwriting, forming letters, and organizing their thoughts on paper. It can impact both written expression and the ability to convey ideas effectively.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Explanation: Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental condition that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. While it's not strictly a learning disability, individuals with ASD may face challenges in academic settings due to difficulties in socializing, interpreting social cues, and adapting to changes in routines.

These FAQs provide a brief overview of these common learning disabilities, but it's important to note that each condition varies in severity and how it manifests in individuals. Accurate diagnosis, early intervention, and personalized support are key to helping individuals with these disabilities succeed in their education and daily lives.

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LDRFA (2023). The Top 5 Most Common Learning Disabilities & Their Symptoms. LD Resources Foundation Action. Retrieved August 25, 2023, from,dyscalculia%2C%20dysgraphia%2C%20and%20dyspraxia.

Dominguez, O., & Carugno, P. (2023, March 19). Learning Disability. National Library of Medicine- National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved August 25, 2023, from,from%20deficits%20in%20phonologic%20processing.

Hennessy, S. (2017, May 2). The State of LD: Understanding the 1 in 5. National Center for Learning Disabilities. Retrieved August 25, 2023, from

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