Learning Disability? Dyslexia? Learning Difficulty?

Learning Disability? Dyslexia? Learning Difficulty?

Message from Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET

As my first post as the Go To Pro for SpecialNeeds.com I want to give you a little bit of background into what a learning problem is. Many of you have struggling students or even struggle yourself with certain things, but that doesn’t mean you actually have a learning disability. So I want to give you some foundational information.

Many parents and teachers wonder if one of their kids has a learning disability or dyslexia if they have difficulties with letter reversals. In fact, before age 8, letter reversals are quite common. But, even if you still have letter reversals after age 8, letter reversals alone do not constitute a learning disability or dyslexia.

What is a Learning Difficulty?

Learning difficulties occur when a student struggles with spoken or written language, mathematical calculations, coordination, self-control, or attention.


What is a Learning Disability?

The National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke agree that learning disabilities are a disorder that affects one’s ability to either interpret what is seen and heard or to link information coming from different parts of the brain.

These limitations can show up in many ways:

  1. Difficulties with spoken language
  2. Difficulties with written language
  3. Difficulties with coordination
  4. Difficulties with self-control
  5. Difficulties with attention
  6. Difficulties with math
  7. Difficulties with memory
  8. Difficulties with following directions

Such difficulties extend to schoolwork and can impede learning to read, write, or do math. Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually not recognized until the child reaches school age.

dylexia, learning disabilities

What is Dyslexia?

The National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke concur that dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds) and/or rapid visual-verbal responding.

What is the difference between a Learning Difficulty, Learning Disability, and Dyslexia?

The difference between a learning disability, dyslexia, and a learning difficulty is the degree to which the difficulty exists. For a student to access additional help within the school system, there needs to be a significant discrepancy between IQ and achievement.

That being said, even gifted students often struggle and don’t qualify for additional support in the classroom. This is because there isn’t a significant discrepancy. As a parent though, there is much you can do to get help for your child.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like a complimentary 30 minute consultation.

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
[email protected]
The Dyslexia and ADHD Expert
GoToPro at SpecialNeeds.com

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Written by: Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET See other articles by Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
About the Author:

Bonnie Terry, M.Ed., BCET, SpecialNeeds.com Go To Pro, is the best-selling author of School Strategies for ADHD Kids, Family Strategies for ADHD KidsFive Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books and reading games. Ms. Terry, a former faculty associate at Illinois State University, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist, learning disability specialist, dyslexia and ADHD expert, with decades of experience.  She is internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Ms. Terry is an expert in identifying student’s learning disabilities. Using her Awaken the Scholar Within Programs, Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents to help their children gain a 2 " 4 year learning advantage. She is a frequent media guest and speaker. Visit www.bonnieterrylearning.com for free teaching tips and information on LD, Dyslexia, and ADHD.

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