LDAO - London Region

About LD

The LDAO working description of Learning Disabilities is: "Learning Disabilities can affect the way in which a person takes in, remembers, understands, and expresses information.

People with LD are intelligent and have abilities to learn despite difficulties in processing information.

Living with LD can have an ongoing impact on friendships, school, work, self-esteem, and daily life.

People with LD can succeed when solid coping skills and strategies are developed."

The LDAO Definition of Learning Disabilities is: "Learning Disabilities" refers to a number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention understanding, or use of verbal and / or non verbal information. These disorders result from impairments in one or more psychological processes related to learning* in combination with otherwise average abilities essential for thinking and / or reasoning. Learning Disabilities are specific, not global, and as such are distinct from intellectual disabilities.

Learning Disabilities range in severity and invariably interfere with the acquisition and use of the following important skills:

  • Oral language (listening, speaking, understanding)
  • Reading (decoding, comprehension)
  • Written language (spelling, written expression)
  • Mathematics (computation, problem solving)

Learning Disabilities may also cause difficulties with organizational skills, social perception, and social interaction.

The impairments are generally life-long. However, their effects may be expressed differently over time, depending on the match between the demands of the environment and the individual's characteristics. Some impairments may be noted during the pre-school years, while others may not become evident until much later. During the school years, learning disabilities are suggested by unexpectedly low academic achievement, or achievement that is sustainable only by extremely high levels of effort and support.

Learning disabilities are due to genetic, other congenital and / or acquired neuro-biological factors. They are not caused by factors such as cultural or language differences, inadequate or inappropriate instruction, socio-economic status, or lack of motivation, although any one of these and other factors may compound the impact of learning disabilities. Frequently, learning disabilities co-exist with other conditions, including attentional, behavioural, and emotional disorders, sensory impairments, or other medical conditions.

For success, persons with LD require specialized interventions in home, school, community, and workplace settings, appropriate to their individual strengths and needs, including:

  • Specific skill instruction
  • The development of compensatory strategies
  • The development of self-advocacy skills
  • Appropriate accommodations

*The term psychological processes describes an evolving list of cognitive functions. To date, research has focused on functions such as:

  • Phonological processing
  • Memory and attention
  • Processing speed
  • Language processing
  • Perceptual-motor processing
  • Visual-spatial processing
  • Executive functions (planning, monitoring, and metacognitive abilities)

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