They are problems that affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information. These problems can make it difficult for a student to learn as quickly as someone who isn’t affected by learning disabilities. They can interfere with a person’s ability to concentrate or focus and can cause someone’s mind to wander too much. Also they can make it difficult for a student to read, write, spell, or solve math problems.
What Causes Them?
- Genetic influences. Researchers are still debating whether learning disabilities are genetic, or if they just show up.
- Brain development. Problems such as low birth weight, lack of oxygen, or premature birth may have something to do with learning disabilities. Head injuries may also trigger learning disabilities.
- Environmental impacts. Young children are susceptible to environmental toxins. Poor nutrition early in life may also lead to learning disabilities later in life.
Coping With a Learning Disability
Some schools develop what is called an Individualized Education Program (or IEP), which helps define a person’s learning strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for the learning activities that will help the student do his or her best in school. A student’s IEP might include some regular time with a tutor or in a specialized classroom for a certain subject, or the use of some special equipment to help with learning, such as books on tape or laptop computers for students who have dyslexia.
Medication is often prescribed to help students with ADHD. There are several medicines on the market today to help improve a student’s attention span and ability to focus and to help control impulses and other hyperactive behavior.
Although there’s no cure for a learning disability, it’s never too late to get help. Most people learn to adapt to their learning differences, and they learn strategies that help them accomplish their goals and dreams.