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Understanding Learning Disabilities (LD)  

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Learning Disabilities can be puzzling and frustrating, both to the person who has them and to friends and family. When a person is smart and still struggles with learning or work, a learning disability may be the reason.

It's important to understand learning disabilities and how they affect learning and all of life. As you start to understand LD, you may have other questions:

  • What about being tested for LD? How does a person live with LD and make the most of abilities? What laws support and protect people with LD? What strategies and technologies help with learning?
  • What accommodations might be helpful?

How many adults really have learning disabilties?

What about being tested for LD?

How does a person live with LD and make the most of abilities?

What laws support and protect people with LD?

What strategies and technologies help with learning?

What accommodations might be helpful?

What are Learning Disabilities?
Learning Disabilities refer to a group of
brain-based disorders that make it hard for people to process information. Sometimes Learning Disabilities are mild; sometimes they are severe.

To start to understand LD click here for a quick overview.

Click here to learn more about Definitions of LD.

Are there different kinds of LD?
Yes. Learning Disabilities affect people in a lot of different ways. Click here to learn more.


What are the characteristics of adults with LD?
No two people with LD have exactly the same set of difficulties. If you have LD you may have difficulty in one or more of the following areas:

Area Examples
Reading It's hard to blend sounds together to read.
It's hard to understand what you read.
Writing It's hard to organize thoughts into words;
It's hard to spell.
It's hard to write letters correctly or neatly.
Listening It's hard to get the meaning of words you hear spoken
It's hard to remember information you hear, like directions.
Speaking It's hard to remember the word you want to say.
It's hard to organize your thoughts to say what you want to say.
It's hard to say words that have many parts.
Math It's hard to remember steps in math operations (as in long division or fractions).
It's hard to remember math facts.
Thinking It's hard to think in an orderly way.
Other It's hard to understand 'body-language'
It's hard to focus attention and finish a task.


Click here to learn more about the Characteristics of Adults with LD.

Google Web Directory on Learning Disabilities.


What is it like to live with Learning Disabilities?

Click here for information and true stories of adults Living with LD.

Is having a Learning Disability the same as having low intelligence?
No, they are completely different. Often a person with LD finds one area of learning easy (for example, math) and another hard (for example, reading).

Do you outgrow Learning Disabilities?
No. Learning Disabilities are part of a person's makeup for life. However, people with LD have many strengths and abilities, too. Many adults learn to get around their limitations, advocate for themselves, and use their talents in all kinds of ways!

What are the legal issues that relate to Learning Disabilities?
LD that substantially limits a major life activity is a disability protected by law. Under the law adults who disclose that they have an LD diagnosis have rights and responsibilities.

They have the right:
  • to participate in educational programs without discrimination;
  • to reasonable accommodations in courses and examinations;
They have the responsibility:
  • To identify themselves as having a disability and request specific accommodations in a timely fashion;
  • To provide documentation concerning their disabilities and the need for accommodations.
Click here to learn more about Legal Issues.


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