#1) People with Learning Disabilities are smart. Their difficulties are not due to low intelligence or unwillingness to learn.
Read more about receiving help with learning disabilities here. Learning Disability or LD is the term that describes a category of specific disorders that impact functioning in school, on the job, or in life in general. Examples of a learning disability include specific weaknesses in areas such as reading (commonly referred to as dyslexia), writing, spelling, or mathematics calculations. People who have learning disabilities do not have these difficulties because of low intelligence, poor learning environment, or lack of trying. Learning Disabilities are not the result of problems with vision, hearing or motor skills. Individuals with mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or autism are not considered to have a learning disability. However an individual could have mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or autism and also have a learning disability. Individuals who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that involves difficulties sustaining attention are not considered to have a learning disability, although they may still require individualized academic supports. ADHD can be helped with medication. LD is not helped by medication.
#2) People with Learning Disabilities when provided with the right accommodations and supports will learn, achieve, and excel.
Learning disabilities are complicated and identification with a comprehensive evaluation and testing is important, both for specifically pinpointing the areas that are impacted, implementing appropriate services, and helping the individual to understand the issue.
#3) Learning disabilities, particularly if unidentified may impact all areas of the person’s life.
Individuals with learning disabilities have normal intelligence but challenges in specific areas of learning. For example a child who has a reading disorder may be challenged sounding out words. They have difficulty making the automatic association between the letter and the sound it represents. This will eventually impact reading comprehension, as the time, energy and focus that the child needs to use to decode words will impact their ability to absorb the meaning of what they are reading. With appropriate supports and accommodations in the learning environment such as tape recorded books and focus on language enrichment skills, the child can learn over time to compensate and use context to assist in identifying words, instead of relying solely on sound/symbol relationships.
#4) Individuals will always have the learning disability. However they can use their strengths to compensate and achieve success.
It is estimated that between 4% and 6% of the general population meet qualifications to be identified with a learning disability. Individuals with learning disabilities have strengths and talents, and potential for achievement that should be supported, nourished and empowered. There is no cure for a learning disability, it will always be there, but the potential for achievement and success is also there. Just look at some notable people who have made their LD diagnosis public.
- Tommy Hilfiger: Designer-Dyslexia
- Henry Winkler: Actor (The Fonze) –Dyslexia
- Kenau Reeves: Actor –Dyslexia
- Steven Spielberg: Director-Dyslexia
What can you do if you think you or a family member has a learning disability?
Call and set up a consultation with Psychologist Robyn Goldman Ed.D. LADC. Look into obtaining a psychological/educational evaluation. It is never too late. Collaborative Counseling Group provides this service. You can contact Robyn at (203) 220-6595 extension 510. Read more about psychological/educational testing here.
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