Specific Learning Disability [formerly termed a Learning Disability] SLD is the term currently used to describe a neurological condition that interferes with an individual's ability to store, process or produce information. Such disabilities affect both children and adults. The impairment can be quite subtle and may go undetected throughout life. But learning disabilities create a gap between a person's true capacity and his day-to-day productivity and performance.
Specific Learning Disabilities refer to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulty in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual, due to central nervous system (neurological) dysfunction and may occur across the life-span. An individual can have marked difficulties at some tasks while excelling at others. Some common Specific Learning Disabilities include dyslexia (difficulty with words), dyscalculia (difficulty with numbers) and dysgraphia (difficulty with written expression).
Visual Problems (difficulty that the brain has with handling information that the eyes see. These are not conditions that will be eliminated by the use of glasses or contact lenses)
Auditory Problems (related to the processing of information that we hear)
Motor Problems (related to various motor functions of the body)
It is estimated that 10-15% of the general population have Specific Learning Disabilities. Because of the very nature of the disability and because most children spend at least ten years of their lives in school, the most frequently noted signs are related to school performance. However, it is important to remember that a specific learning disability is not confined to school hours and may be identified during the preschool years.
In most cases, parents rarely realize that anything is amiss until the child enters school. In some cases, the parents may have suspected for some time that something was different about this child. If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child's learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to achieve in school and to lead a successful and productive life.
A recent US National Institutes of Health study showed that 67% of young students who were at risk for reading difficulties became average or above average readers after receiving intensive reading support and remediation help in the early grades.
Dr Roby Marcou, American Subspecialty Board Certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician
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