Definition of Learning Disability

Definition of Learning Disability

If you try to search for the definition of learning disability or LD you are most likely to get a vague result. It is so, because there is no clear and extensively accepted definition of learning disability yet. Due to its multidisciplinary nature of the field, there is still an ongoing discussion on the issue of definition and there are currently several definitions of LD that you can find online.

The definition of learning disability greatly varies, but it usually refers to a significant intellectual impairment and deficits in social functioning or adaptive behavior that are present from childhood. Although there are differences when it comes to the definition of learning disability, they somehow agree on certain factors such as:

§ A person with learning disability has difficulties with academic achievement and progress. Discrepancies exist between a person’s potential for learning and what he or she actually learns.
§ A person with learning disability shows as irregular pattern of development such as language, physical, academic and/or perceptual development.
§ Learning impairment is not due to environmental disadvantage
§ Learning problems are not due to mental retardation or emotional disturbance.

There are many wrong ideas about learning disabilities and they should not be considered as the bases for the definition of learning disability. Some of the misconceptions of LD are:

§ A person with learning disability has a low IQ. This isn’t true. In fact, a person with learning impairment often has an average or better IQ. There are may people who are very smart, but for whatever reason, they can’t learn as much as their IQ suggests they should. And because a negative result of LD is usually low self-esteem, those with LD tend to shy away and eventually lose their self-confidence.
§ A person with LD is just lazy. There should be a reason why the person with learning impairment doesn’t learn the way they should. Maybe, that person’s brain doesn’t process the information correctly. If it does, probably much slower than other people. Or, he may not process what he sees effectively. There are people who can’t process what they hear as well as what they see, while others can’t remember information unless it is being repeated over and over again or they have trouble getting the information out from the filing system they have in the brain. Generally, people with LD work harder, but with lesser results, after all it’s not about hard work, it is learning disability.
§ A person with LD can’t do anything right. Not because a person may have LD in one or more areas, doesn’t mean they can’t anything right. For example, a person may have difficulty in learning math or spelling or reading, but he can be genius when it comes to computers or electronics or arts more than anybody else

The issue about learning impairment is not about seeing it as a problem. When it comes to the definition of learning disability, which refers to the level of one’s intellect, you can never too perfect to know everything. The more you acknowledge you weakness, the more you should do something about your strength to keep everything in the balance.