Two weeks ago, I went to a luncheon to learn about the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), hosted by two Philly Social Media Moms, Colleen and Whitney. The NCLD is an organization that provides support and resources to families living with a learning disability, and educating the public on what a learning disability (LD) is.
Traditionally, people, including myself, think of a learning disability as something that comes hand-in-hand with a type of condition such as autism or Down syndrome. In reality, that is not an accurate description. According to NCLD, learning disabilities are “a group of varying disorders that have a negative impact on learning.” Neuro-typical children can have learning disabilities and thus have difficulty learning in traditional settings, leading to high levels of high school and college drop out rates. Learning disabilities include:
- Dyslexia: Difficulty with reading
- Dysgraphia: Difficulty with handwriting
- Dyscalculia: Difficulty with math
- Dyspraxia: Difficulty with motor skills
These affect a person’s ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do math, but they are not intellectual or developmental disabilities. LD is not:
- Visual, hearing or motor disabilities
- Developmental disabilities, such as autism or Down syndrome
- Problems that arise from cultural, environmental, or economic disadvantages
Finally, a child can have any one of those things I just listed AND an LD. For example, Zoe has dysgraphia and Amelia has dyscalculia. For a neurotypical child, these issues can be addressed if the school is willing to work with you. An example that was frequently brought up in the luncheon (and in an old video clip of “90210″) is difficulty with test taking, in a crowded and timed setting. Given test-taking adaptations, some kids with LD can perform wonderfully.
Here is a small sampling of the resources available on dyslexia at the NCLD website:
I want to thank Dr. Sheldon Horowitz for taking the time to share this information with us. This kind of resources empowers parents and kids dealing with a learning disability to overcome it and be successful as students and in life. Head over to the NCLD at LD.org to learn more, and to find support if you think your child has a learning disability.