What are LDs?
LDs – which is short for learning disabilities – affect one or more of the ways that a person takes in, stores, or uses information. LDs come in many forms and affect people with varying levels of severity. Between 5 and 10 percent of Canadians have LDs.
LDs are a life-long condition – they do not go away – but can be coped with successfully by using areas of strength to compensate and accommodations such as technology.
A quick example: a student could have an LD that affected her reading-and-understanding. She knows how to read, but the process of decoding the words and sentences takes so much effort that she comprehends little of what she’s read. This student has learned that this is the case, and now records lectures to listen to later, and listens to audio-books on tape and CD. She has compensated by using her strong listening skills.
LDs and their effects are different from person to person, so a person’s pattern of learning abilities need to be understood in order to find good, effective strategies for compensation.
A learning disability exists when an individual’s IQ is average or above average but their performance is below average.
What is a Learning Disability?
Often people refer to learning difficulties as learning disabilities, which creates confusion. Individuals can have learning challenges for a variety of reasons, but a learning disability is something specific.
An individual who has difficulty learning does not necessarily have a learning disability. For example, individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability do not have a learning disability.
It is important to remember a learning disability is an individual performing lower than their potential. In other words, a child may have an average IQ but have a reading score that’s below average – a discrepancy between achievement and potential.
PODCAST: Helping Children with Reading Challenges. Sept 2015.
Ashley Short, Executive Director of LDANR
Dr. John McNamara, Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University
Reading Disorder or Developmental Lag? – click for information