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Learning Disabilities

Who Has a Learning DisabilityIdentifying Ld

Identifying a learning disability is much harder than identifying many other problems. Even if you have lots of checks on the right side of the chart, you cannot be sure that you have a learning disability, although you would be wise to check it out.

Suppose you go to a doctor because you have a sore throat. The doctor sees that your throat is red and does a test to find the cause. If the test says that you have strep throat, then the doctor knows what the problem is and gives you the right medicine.

Unfortunately, no quick test yet exists that will allow a doctor or teacher to check numbers on a chart and then say for sure, “Yes, that person has LD.” Correctly identifying LD is a long process that involves many people— the person with the problem, parents, doctors, teachers, and specialists. These people combine their findings to decide if someone has a learning disability or if there are other causes for the problem. At times they find a complex mixture of many issues.

  • If most of your dots are on the right side of the graph, assessment by trained LD specialists is probably needed.
  • If most of your dots are on the left side of the graph, you probably do not have a learning disability. You may, of course, still need help with reading, social skills, math, or any of the other areas in which you don't feel that you are at least “OK.”
Good Most of Time OK Most of Time Poor Most of Time
Reading ability
Math ability
Ability to think before acting
Ability to follow complex directions
Attention span
Memory for letters
Memory for words
Ability to tell right from left, north/south, east/west
Skill at organizing
Sense of time

The first step in diagnosing, or discovering, a learning disability is calling on a group of specialists. Each specialist assesses the person in a variety of ways.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaLearning DisabilitiesLearning Disabilities - Who Has a Learning Disability - An Invisible Disability, Do I Have A Learning Disability?, Identifying Ld, Assessment, Accurate Assessment Matters