Learning Disorders
Basic Information

Learning Disorders

Learning Disorders are diagnosed when a student’s achievement in particular areas of learning (such as spoken or written language, mathematics abilities, etc.), as measured by formal and standardized tests of academic achievement) are significantly less well developed than would be expected given that students’ intelligence (as measured by a formal and standardized test of intelligence), and grade level. Formal subtypes of learning disorder (as documented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the clinician’s diagnostic bible) include: Reading Disorder, Mathematics Disorder, and Disorder of Written Expression. As with most disorder families, a ‘not otherwise specified’ catchall category is made available so that cases that don’t quite fit the established categories can be described.

Learning disorders are true clinical disorders that are likely founded in slightly (or not so slightly) abnormal brain ...

 
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What are Learning Disorders?

  • Learning Disorders are diagnosed when a student’s achievement in particular areas of learning (such as spoken or written language, mathematics abilities, etc.), as measured by formal and standardized tests of academic achievement) are significantly less well developed than would be expected given that students’ intelligence (as measured by a formal and standardized test of intelligence), and grade level.
  • Learning disorders are true clinical disorders that are likely founded in slightly (or not so slightly) abnormal brain development, and are not just clinical labels given to excuse poor performance in otherwise normal students.
  • Factors that may contribute to the development of learning disorders include inherited genetic deficits, pre-birth or birth injuries (for example, a drinking or drug using mother), and various other early-life medical complications.
  • That some people experience learning disorders is not their fault.
  • That learning disordered persons may have difficulty making good grades during their school years is obvious. What is less obvious is the social and psychological effects that tend to follow in the wake of learning disabilities.
  • Disorder of Written Expression occurs when writing skills, as measured by individually administered standardized tests (or functional assessments of writing skills), are substantially below those expected given the person's chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education.
  • Expressive Language Disorder occurs when the scores obtained from standardized individually administered measures of expressive language development are substantially below those obtained from standardized measures of both nonverbal intellectual capacity and receptive language development.
  • Mathematics Disorder is diagnosed when mathematical ability, as measured by individually administered standardized tests, is substantially below that expected given the person's chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education.
  • Reading Disorder occurs when reading achievement, as measured by individually administered standardized tests of reading accuracy or comprehension, is substantially below that expected given the person's chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education.
  • Dyslexia is a popular term used to describe disorders of language processing that fall under the general category of learning disorders.

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