Learning Disabilities Mini Fact Sheet
DESCRIPTION: Learning disabilities are disorders that
affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do
mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Although
learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually
not recognized until the child reaches school age.
TREATMENT: The most common treatment for learning
disabilities is special education. Specially trained educators may perform a
diagnostic educational evaluation assessing the child's academic and
intellectual potential and level of academic performance. Once the evaluation is
complete, the basic approach is to teach learning skills by building on the
child's abilities and strengths while correcting and compensating for
disabilities and weaknesses. Other professionals such as speech and language
therapists also may be involved. Some medications may be effective in helping
the child learn by enhancing attention and concentration. Psychological
therapies may also be used.
PROGNOSIS: Learning disabilities can be lifelong
conditions. In some people, several overlapping learning disabilities may be
apparent. Other people may have a single, isolated learning problem that has
little impact on their lives.
RESEARCH: The NINDS and other institutes of the National
Institutes of Health including the National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development, the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders, and the National Institute of Mental Health support research on
learning disabilities. Current research avenues focus on developing techniques
to diagnose and treat learning disabilities and increase understanding of the
biological basis of learning disabilities.
These articles, available from a medical library, may
provide more in-depth information on learning disabilities:
Silver, LB. "Controversial Approaches to Treating Learning Disabilities and
Attention Deficit Disorder." American Journal of Diseases of Children,
140; 1045-1052 (October 1986).
Lyon, GA, Gray, DB, Kavanagh, JF, and Krasnegor, NA. (eds). Better
Understanding Learning Disabilities: New Views From Research and Their
Implications for Education and Public Policies, Paul H. Brookes Publishing
Co., Baltimore, MD (1993).
*Information may also be available from the following organizations (last
International Dyslexia Society
The Chester Building
8600 LaSalle Road
Baltimore, MD 21286-2044
Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc.
381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1420
New York, NY 10016
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Building 31, Room 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Rm. 7C02
Rockville, MD 20857-8030
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD)
8181 Professional Place, Suite 201
Landover, MD 20785
Information Provided by the courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health.