According to the Comité Interordres “learning disabilities affect how a person perceives, understands or expresses information”. Learning disabilities can manifest themselves with by making the following tasks difficult:
- reading texts and following instructions relating to work or examinations;
- writing texts;
- mental arithmetic or understanding of mathematical concepts;
- the ability to remember what one learns;
- the ability to organize ideas, time and activities;
- the ability to articulate meaning
Learning disabilities have nothing to do with intelligence, but they can have a significant impact on academic performance, as it affects the skills needed for an individual to do well in school. They can also be a source of stress and discourage students when they do not receive appropriate help.
With this definition of learning disabilities, it is important to differentiate between a learning disability and an intellectual disability. It is possible that individuals with average or even above average intellectual abilities have a fundamental difficulty with daily tasks.
It is important to make a distinction between learning disabilities and learning difficulties. The difference resides in the fact that learning difficulties are usually transient. It is often the consequence of external factors (moving, family problems, social demands relating to adolescence, etc.). These factors translate into concentration problems, difficulty reading, writing, doing math and behavioural problems. If learning difficulties are detected quickly, actions can be taken to help the student overcome them, whereas learning disabilities are present throughout a person’s life.
There are different categories of psychological and neurological learning disabilities. The most frequent are:
–Dyslexia: difficulty reading
–Dysorthographia: difficulty writing
–Dyscalculia: difficulties with mathematics
–Dysphasia: difficulties relating to language
–Memory Problems (short or long term)
-Dyspraxia: difficulty with motor coordination
–Visual or auditory perception problems: difficulty putting together and telling apart auditory or visual stimulation
–Difficulty with executive functioning: difficulty planning and organizing, as well as accepting the point of view of others
– Non-verbal dysfunction syndrome: motor, visual, social or sensorial difficulties
–Auditory processing disorder: difficulties with information processing
–Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD)