Learning disability is a disorder that inhibits or interferes with learning skills, including speaking, listening, reading, writing or math skills. Often, a learning disabled child has a level of academic achievement two years or more below the standard for their age and IQ level. It is estimated that somewhere between 5-20% of school-age children in the United States, primarily boys, suffer from learning difficulties (currently, most sources place this figure at 20%).
Learning difficulties appear along with other disorders, such as attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They are believed to be caused by irregularities in certain parts of the brain. Studies suggest that these irregularities are often inherited (a child is more likely to develop mental retardation if other family members have them). However, learning difficulties also associated with certain conditions occurring during fetal development or birth including maternal use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, exposure to infections, injuries during birth, low birth weight, and sensory deprivation.
Aside from underachievement, other warning signs that a child may have a learning disability include overall disorganization, forgetfulness, with unusually long amount of time to complete assignments, and a negative attitude toward school and schoolwork. In the classroom, the child’s teacher may notice any of the following: difficulty paying attention, unusual carelessness and lack of organization, social withdrawal, difficulty working independently, and difficulty to change from one activity to another. In addition to the previous character, which is directly linked to school and school work, some general behavioral and emotional functions often accompany learning disabilities. These include impulsivity, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, poor physical coordination, low tolerance for frustration, low self-esteem, daydreaming, inattentiveness and anger or sadness.