Discovering that your child has a learning disability is like finding yourself in a maze of assessments, diagnosis, and decisions. Part of the challenge for parents is understanding the definition of the disability and how to get the right help for their child.
At Rockwood Prep, we put together this basic glossary of terms and definitions, that we like to call Name That Learning Disability. We hope that it will be helpful to you.
But, first, what is a learning disability?
Learning disabilities are a group of neurological disorders are often manifested as a difficulty in learning, sorting, and storing information. Children with learning disabilities may have difficulty with skills such as speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, listening, or performing mathematical calculations. Much of the time, learning disabilities are not identified until a child reaches school age.
Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability, research indicates that from 30-50 percent of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability. ADHD can make learning extremely challenging because of the difficulty of staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior and hyperactivity.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Children with autism spectrum disorders may have trouble communicating, reading body language, learning basic skills, making friends, and making eye contact.
Aphasia and Dysphasia are a language-based learning disorder that involves problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to retell a story and the fluency of speech, as well as the ability to understand the meaning of words, parts of speech, directions, etc.
Visual Processing Disorder
Problems in visual perception include missing subtle differences in shapes, reversing letters or numbers, skipping words, skipping lines, misperceiving depth or distance, or having problems with eye–hand coordination. Visual perception can affect gross and fine motor skills, reading comprehension, and math.
Auditory Processing Disorder
Professionals may refer to the ability to hear well as “auditory processing skills” or “receptive language.” The ability to hear things correctly greatly impacts the ability to read, write, and spell. An inability to distinguish subtle differences in sound, or hearing sounds at the wrong speed make it difficult to sound out words and understand the basic concepts of reading and writing.
Dyspraxia is also known as a Sensory Integration Disorder that is characterized by difficulty in muscle control, which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech, and can affect learning. Although not a learning disability, dyspraxia often exists along with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or ADHD. Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills (cutting, writing, buttoning a shirt) or gross motor skills (running, jumping).
Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. Individuals with this type of learning disability may also have poor comprehension of math symbols, may struggle with memorizing and organizing numbers, and have difficulty telling time, or have trouble with counting.
Learning disabilities in writing can involve the physical act of writing or the mental activity of comprehending and synthesizing information is known as Dysgraphia. Problems may include illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on paper, poor spelling, and difficulty composing writing as well as thinking and writing at the same time.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that affects reading and related language-based processing skills. The severity can differ in each individual but can affect reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling, and sometimes speech and can exist along with other related disorders.
Executive Function is an inefficiency in the cognitive management systems of the brain that affects a variety of neuropsychological processes such as planning, organization, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. Although not a learning disability, different patterns of weakness in executive functioning are almost always seen in the learning profiles of individuals who have specific learning disabilities or ADHD.
Non-Verbal Learning Disability
A disorder which is usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial and social skills. Typically, an individual with a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NLD or NVLD) has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language and may have poor coordination.
Oral/Written Language Disorder
Individuals with an Oral/Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit struggle with understanding and/or expressing language often in both oral and written forms. These individuals often exhibit Specific Language Impairment related to deficits in semantic processing and syntactic processing.
About Rockwood Preparatory Academy
Rockwood Preparatory Academy provides education and therapies to the special needs community. Our responsibility not only lies with our students but is also extended to all individuals with learning disabilities and developmental delayed attributes. That’s why we also provide critical therapies, social |behavioral skills groups, and other enriching activities to the entire special needs community.
Our signature My Turn® programs and modalities greatly enhance the overall development of children with special needs in a positive, joyful environment.
Students, ages 5- 18 attending Rockwood Prep spend part of their day setting and achieving academic goals, while learning how to adapt and thrive with their unique set of social, behavioral, and educational challenges. The second part of the school day includes fin and innovative activities and therapies with tangible wins and successes.
To request a tour of the school or to learn more, email us.