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Specific Learning Disabilities - What are Specific Learning Disabilities?


Updated June 21, 2014

Teacher helping student use computer
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Definition: Specific learning disabilities are a group of disabilities in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) The IDEA defines specific learning disabilities as a group of disorders in one or more of these areas of learning: Learning disabilities may include several types of disorders. Dyslexia, for example, is included with learning disabilities in reading under the IDEA. Dysgraphia is included with learning idsabilities in writing, and dyscalculia is included in learning disabilities in math.

Learning disabilities may also involve disorders or syndromes such as developmental aphasia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or Tourette's syndrome.

Specific learning disabilities are not typically diagnosed when other primary disabling conditions such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor disabilities, mental retardation, or emotional disturbances are present. Further, students whose academic weaknesses are caused by environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage are not typically diagnosed with learning disabilities unless there is evidence the disability is not related to these factors and the child has received appropriate educational intervention.

Also Known As: Specific learning disabilities may also be called learning disorders, learning disability without the word specific, dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia.
Specific learning disabilities are a category of disabilities defined by the IDEA.

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