Learning Disabilities

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Learning Disabilities

This semester we have spent the majority of our time learning about and

discussing how we can best assist exceptional students. Many of these

students are individuals with learning dissabilities. Although it would be

difficult for every teacher to understand the distinctions, symptoms,

weaknesses and strengths of every disability, it can be very helpful to have

a general knowledge of the disabilities that may hinder a students ability to

learn. Unlike other disabilities like paralysis and blindness, a learning

disability (LD) is a hidden handicap. A learning disability does not

disfigure or leave visible signs that would invite others to be understanding

or offer support (Council for Exceptional Children (CEC),1999). Therefore as

teachers it will be our responsibility to provide that understanding and

support for those children already diagnosed and also be alert to the warning

signs that may be symptoms of a previously undetected disability.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (NIMH, 1999) describes

learning disabilities as follows: LD is a disorder that effects peoples ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. These limitations can show up in many ways. As specific

difficulties with spoken and written language, coordination, self-control,

or attention. Such difficulties extend to school work and can impede

learning to read or write or to do math.

Learning disability can be lifelong conditions that, in some cases,

affect many parts of a persons life: school or work, daily routines, family

life, and sometimes even friendships. In some people, many overlapping

learning disabilities may be apparent. Other people may have a single

isolated learning problem that has little impact on other areas of their

lives (National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), 1999). It is

important to remember that the term learning disability does not apply to

students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual

or hearing problems, mental retardation, emotional problems, or

disadvantaged due to their environment, culture or economic background (US

Department of Education (USDE), 1999).

Knowing what constitutes a LD is only the beginning. Diagnosing and

treating a learning disability is not...

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American Psychiatric Association (APA: 1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th edition). Washington DC: Author.

Council for Exceptional Children: Division of Learning Disabilities. (1999). Council for Exceptional Children homepage. [On line]. Available: http://www.cec.sped.org/home.htm

Council for Learning Disabilities. (1999). Council for Learning Disabilities homepage. [On line]. Available: http:/ www. coe.winthrop. edu/cld

Learning Disabilities Association on America. (1998). Learning Disabilities Association on America homepage. [Online]. Available: http://www.ldanatl.org

National Center for Learning Disabilities. (1999). National Center for Learning Disabilities homepage. [Online]. Available: http://www.ncld.org

National Institute of Mental Health. (1999). National Institute of Mental Health homepage. [Online]. Available: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/home.htm

The International Dyslexia Association. (1999). The International Dyslexia Association homepage. [Online]. Available: http.interdys.org

U. S. Department of Education. (1999). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act homepage. [Online]. Available: http://www.ed.gov/

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