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What's the 'Dys' on These Learning Disabilities?

Generally speaking, when we hear learning disabilities, it has a negative connotation associated with it. Learning disabilities are usually due to genetic factors and are neurobiological-- meaning it alters brain functioning and cognitive processing. The common misconception is that students with learning disabilities are handicapped when it comes to academics, which is far from true. Yes, the learning process may be more difficult for them, but they are fully capable of being successful with the right instruction and tools.

Learning disabilities are often referred to as 'hidden disabilities' because they do not alter the physical appearance of a person. In fact, they do not alter the intelligence of person either. It is often seen that people with learning disabilities are of average or high intelligence. Learning disabilities are generally diagnosed in primary grades, when students struggle to demonstrate expected skills, but sometimes go unnoticed until a person reaches adulthood. Some people struggle their whole life, never realizing the signs of a learning disability.

Types of Learning Disabilities

There are different types of learning disabilities that many states classify under 'specific learning disability' (SLD)-- other states still classify this under a 504. SLD is a blanket term, meaning it encompasses many disabilities under it. Dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia are all disabilities that are starting to become recognized and classified under SLD. 'Dys' is of Greek origin and means poor or inadequate. Each of these learning disabilities display signs or poor skills across different learning domains.


A learning disability that affects reading, writing, spelling, and language-based processing skills



A learning disability that affects math skills



A learning disability that affects handwriting skills.



A learning disability that affects fine and gross motor skills.

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