What are the Different Types of Learning Disabilities?

by Michelle Donaghey

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, there are several types of learning disabilities that are “neurologically-based processing problems”. “These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing, or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning and abstract reasoning,” notes the LDA.  

The types of LD are identified by the specific processing program. They might relate to getting information to the brain (input), making sense of the information (organization) storing and later retrieving information (memory) or getting information back out (output). Here is some more information on the different types of learning disabilties and what can be done to help. More...
Input- Information is brought into the brain primarily through the eyes (visual) and ears (auditory) notes the LDA. Children with auditory perception problems might have problems distinguishing subtle differences in sounds. Those who have visual perception disabilities might not distinguish subtle differences in shapes such as d and p. They also might skip words, lines or have trouble with depth perception. “If there is difficulty with visual perception, there could be problems with tasks that require hand-eye coordination (visual motor skills) such as catching a ball, doing a puzzle, or picking up a glass,” notes the LDA.


Once information is recorded in the brain (input), three tasks must be carried out to make sense or integrate this information,” says the LDA. The steps of processing are sequencing, abstraction and organization.
Children with sequence problems might not be able to learn information in proper sequence such as numbers or the months of the year.
Abstraction- A child may have problems understanding the meaning of individual words or concepts.
Organization- Losing, forgetting or misplacing items may be an issue.


Children need to have three types of memory in order to learn properly. “Working memory” refers to the ability to hold on to pieces of information until the pieces blend into a full thought or concept,” says the LDA. On the other hand, short term memory allows one to store and retain information for a limited amount of time. Long term memory is just that.


Everyone communicates information through words or through motor output, such as writing, drawing and gesturing. Children can have language and motor disabilities.
Language- Conversation can be spontaneous or on demand. Some struggle to organize thoughts or find the right words.
Motor- Children can have troubles jumping on one foot, cutting, writing or buttoning.


How you can help
Pay attention! Watch your child and find out how he or she learns the best. Is it through writing, listening or touching? Would it help if you made sure he or she was in the front of the room in class? Maybe it would help if you purchased special pencils that help him hold it correctly, or maybe if you went to the library to borrow books or videos on subjects he or she is studying. Teach your child by focusing on his or her strengths, not weaknesses!
Talk to your doctor if you feel there is a need. Remember it is better to get help early before it gets even more difficult for your child!
Not a failure! Make sure your child knows that he or she is not a failure! Don’t emphasize mistakes, but rather look at them as opportunities. Find news solutions that will help your child grow.
Emphasize the positive and remember that your child will possibly not be able to do many things easily for his or her whole life- that does not mean that your child does not have things he or she cannot do. Find those special things that spark your child’s learning and work with them! Find your child’s special talent and pursue it together!
Limit that television and videogames!
If you are selective, television and videos can be a good thing for your child. Watch them together and discuss the plots, characters or places. Make sure that you are with him or her during this time- do not use videos and television as a babysitter!
Choose books carefully! Just because you think your child should read a particular book does not mean he or she will like or even be able to read it! Most children who have a disability read below their grade level. Find books that are of interest to him or her!

If your child is in school, you should talk to your school principal and counselors. If the school thinks your child may have a disability and needs attention after they evaluate him or her the school is required by federal and state law to provide special education for your child- at no cost to your family. If you find that the evaluation does not show a disability and you think it was not done correctly, you can ask for the school to pay for an Independent Education Evaluation. You can ask your school or your states parent Training and Information (PTI) center about the process you need to follow to request an IEE. If you would rather do it yourself, you can independently get an evaluation. Do not get discouraged if they results show that your child’s problem with reading is not caused by a disability- you can ask for your child to be enrolled in a remedial reading problem if he or she has problems reading.


Michelle Donaghey is a freelance writer and mother of two boys, Chris and Patrick, who are her inspiration. She lives in Bremen, Indiana just south of South Bend, home of Notre Dame. When she isn’t writing, Michelle can be found in her perennial flower garden or working on small home improvement projects. Michelle has written for parenting publications including Metro Kids, Atlanta Parent,Dallas Child, Great Lakes Family, Family Times and Space Coast Parent and websites including iparenting.com.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2007

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