What Is a Learning Disability?
One in five children have some type of learning disability, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Learning disability is a broad term that can cover many disorders. It is defined by the National Center for Learning Disabilities as a disorder that interferes with a person's ability to store, process, or produce information, and creates a gap between one's ability and performance. Children with learning disabilities may suffer from problems with speech, language, reading, mathematics, concentration, or reasoning.
In many cases, the cause of a learning disability is not known. Experts believe that the learning difficulties that accompany this disability aren't the result of the way the child takes in information -- his sight and hearing are fine -- but rather the result of the way the brain processes the information. Recent scans have actually shown differences in the brains of children who have learning difficulties. Certain types of learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, can be inherited.
Learning disabilities are not the same as mental retardation, autism, deafness, blindness, or behavioral disorders. Children with learning disabilities often have average or above-average intelligence.