Learning Difference – Learning Disabilities

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is characterized by significant difficulty in the student to acquire and use academic skills, particularly in one specific subject or area.

Dyslexia is considered a learning disability (for more information on this learning difference, visit the dyslexia page), but there are other forms of learning disabilities as well.

What are some other types of learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities are general difficulties experienced by students that hinder the acquisition of academic skills, and arise from a variety of causes that include intellectual disability, physical or sensory deficits (e.g. hearing impairment), emotional or behavioral difficulties, and inadequate environmental experiences. Some types of learning disabilities include:

  • Dyscalculia: significant difficulty solving even simple math problems or sequencing information or events
  • Nonverbal learning disability: significant difficulty with nonverbal cues, such as coordination and body language
  • Dysgraphia: significant difficulty with handwriting, spelling, or thinking and writing at the same time

Specific learning disabilities are disorders that adversely affect the basic psychological processes that allow the understanding and use of language. They are not related to the causes of learning disabilities and are often unexpected in relation to their other skills. These include:

  • Oral expression
  • Listening comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Basic reading skill
  • Reading fluency skills
  • Reading comprehension
  • Mathematics calculation
  • Mathematics problem-solving

What is the difference between a learning disability and normal trouble learning a subject?

Significant difficulty in learning an academic skill that does not improve with increased attention and special measures (such as tutoring) can point to the presence of a learning disability in the student.

If left unaddressed, a learning disability leads to a skill deficit both in the problem skill area and others, due to decreases in self-esteem and motivation. There are often also accompanying social difficulties resulting from slowed progress and poor academic performance.

What are the signs that my student may have a learning disability?

Continued frustration and poor academic performance, particularly in one or two specific areas, can be a potential warning sign that a student has a learning disability.

It is important to note that learning disabilities are defined as a severe instance of continued difficulty in certain areas, to the degree that a skill deficit results from the marked decreased interest in learning. It is also important to note that the presence of a learning disability does not reflect the overall intelligence level of a student, as learning disorders develop for various outside reasons.

What are the causes of learning disabilities in students?

Reasons the student may develop a learning disability can include genetics, medical conditions, and even environmental exposure.

How does a learning disability affect my student in the classroom?

A learning disability has the potential to affect the student negatively in the classroom in multiple ways. Academic performance will suffer greatly in the specific areas, resulting in emotional struggles, which can affect social perceptions and success and acceptance by their peers. The problems can also begin to influence relationships with friends and family outside of the classroom if left unattended.

How do I determine for certain if my student has a learning disability?

Qualified and thorough assessment from highly-educated and experienced professionals is the only certain way to diagnose a learning disability. Once properly diagnosed, the student can be put into a positive, safe learning environment where learning continues, skill deficits are remedied, and the student regains self-confidence.

How can Marburn Academy assist me after I’ve discovered my student has a learning disability?

The first step to learning how Marburn Academy can help your student is by completing an Admission Inquiry. Or connect with us by submitting the form below.


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