Learning disorders (LD) refer to a significant deficit in learning due to a person's inability to interpret what is seen and heard, or to link information from different parts of the brain.
Academic deficiency is frequently associated with neurologic and psychological disorders. Severe academic problems may occur as a primary disorder of learning. Learning disorders can be classified in three major types: disorder of written expression (DWE); reading disorder (RD); and mathematics disorder (MD). The description of learning disorders corresponds to the educational legal designation of learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are legally defined by Public Law in a law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. The IDEA defines a learning disability as a disorder in written or spoken language that results in an imperfect ability to listen, think, read, spell, write, or do mathematics. The act excludes persons who have learning impairments that are solely due to hearing problems, visual problems, motor problems, mental retardation, or due to environmental deprivation. The rules and related laws of IDEA stipulate that children with LD are entitled to free education and special services. A fourth category of LD has also been established for an LD that does not fulfill all the criteria (called an LD not otherwise specified.) Age of onset of LD is closely related to clinical presentation. Most cases of LD can be detected between preschool and second grade. Typically, onset of LD before first grade, often demonstrates developmental delay in learning new concepts at home, or as a delay in performance in school (delay is observed relative to other children and is observed by school officials). If the onset of LD occurs in early grade school (first or second grade), then observations typically include slow learning and difficulty completing and mastering schoolwork which often results in poor grades.
Laith Farid Gulli MD, Nicole Mallory, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,