Learning disabilities are disorders that affect one's ability in the domains of spoken or written language, mathematical calculation, attention, or the coordination of movements. They can occur in young children but are usually not recognized until a child reaches school age. An estimated 8 to 10 percent of U.S. children have some type of learning disability.
Learning disabilities can be lifelong conditions that can affect one's experience at school or work or in social situations. Multiple learning disabilities overlap in some people.
Some specific categories of learning disabilities include:
- Dyslexia, which causes difficulties with word recognition, spelling, and comprehension
- Dysgraphia, which results in impaired handwriting, impaired spelling, or both
- Dyscalculia, which affects the ability to learn arithmetic and mathematics
- Nonverbal Learning Disorder, marked by trouble receiving and interpreting nonverbal forms of communication such as body language and facial expressions
- Apraxia of speech, which involves difficulty saying what one intends to say
- Central Auditory Processing Disorder, which involves difficulty with recognizing and interpreting sounds
Information-processing disorders are learning disorders related to the ability to use sensory information (obtained through seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching). These problems are not related to an inability to see or hear, but rather the recognition of, response to, and memory of such information.
Language-related learning disabilities are problems that interfere with age-appropriate communication, including speaking, listening, reading, spelling, and writing.
According to the DSM-5, 5 to 15 percent of school-age children across different cultures are affected by a learning disorder limiting them in reading, writing, or mathematics.