What is a Learning Disability?

Learning Disabilities refer to a number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. (Source: LDAC)

People with a disability can struggle with the following:

  1. Spoken language
  2. Listening
  3. Speaking
  4. Understanding



Common Types of Learning Disabilities

Overall, Learning Disability is a blanket term that covers many disorders, including the most common types:

Dyslexia – Difficulty reading (Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking)

Dyscalculia – Difficulty with math (Problems doing math, understanding time, using money)

Dysgraphia – Difficulty with writing (Problems with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas)

Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) – Difficulty with fine motor skills (Problems with hand-eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity)

Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language (Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension)

Auditory Processing Disorder – Difficulty hearing differences between sounds (Problems with reading, comprehension, language)

Visual Processing Disorder – Difficulty interpreting visual information (Problems with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures)




Powerful Statistics

  •        19% of students with LD drop out of high school
  •        68% of students graduated from high school receiving a regular diploma while 12% received a certificate
  •        Employment Status:
    •   46% employed
    •   7.9% unemployed
    •   46% not in labour force

(Source: Nation Centre for Learning Disabilities)


Common Questions Asked:

  •        What caused this disability?
  •        How might it have been prevented?
  •        What is it like to have a Learning disability?
  •        What can be done now?
  •        How will this disability change my (our) life?
  •        Will this disability change my interaction with my child?
  •        Can he/she learn anything?
  •        Does this mean my child will not graduate from high school?
  •        Will he/she be able to take care of himself?
  •        What kind of job will he/she be able to get and keep?


Misconceptions Dispelled:

  •        Each individual with a learning disability is unique. No two experiences are the same.
  •        Many people do not fully understand what learning disabilities are and those who learn
           differently frequently bear the stigma of being thought of as “slow,” lazy, or “weird.”
  •        Many people who have a Learning Disability are very intelligent and even gifted.
           With the right help they can excel.
  •        All conditions are not created equal – Learning Disabilities can range in its severity and how
           it affects people.
  •        Learning disabilities may co-exist with various conditions including attentional, behavioural
           and emotional disorders, sensory impairments or other medical conditions.


You Are Not Alone:

Having a Learning Disability can feel quite isolating, but it is helpful to source out examples of people with similar struggles who empowered themselves and excelled.

Here are just a few famous achievers who strived for more than their current circumstance:

  •        Famous inventor, Albert Einstein
  •        Heavy weight champion boxer, Muhammad Ali
  •        Actor, Tom Cruise
  •        Former Prime Minister, Winston Churchill
  •        Actor & Comedian, Vince Vaughn
  •        Entrepreneur, Richard Branson
  •        Late night talk show host, Jay Leno
  •        Comedian, Host & Actress, Whoopi Goldberg