National Institute for Learning Development - NILD

What Are the Types of Learning Disabilities?

Types of Learning Disabilities

Although learning deficits are as individual as thumbprints, most disabilities fall into the three basic categories:  dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.

Dyslexia

“Dys” means difficulty with and “lexia” means words – thus “difficulty with words”. Originally the term “Dyslexia” referred to a specific learning deficit that hindered a person’s ability to read. More recently, however, it has been used as a general term referring to the broad category of language deficits that often includes the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words as well as the ability to read and spell words accurately and fluently. When breakdowns occur in these foundational reading skills, dyslexic students often struggle to understand what they read as well as develop vocabulary at a slower rate.

Dysgraphia

“Dys” means difficulty with and “graphia” means writing – thus “difficulty with writing”.  The term dysgraphia refers to more than simply having poor handwriting. This term refers to those who struggle with the motor skills necessary to write thoughts on paper, spelling, and the thinking skills needed for vocabulary retrieval, clarity of thought, grammar, and memory.

Dyscalculia

“Dys” means difficulty with and “calculia” means calculations and mathematics – thus “difficulty with calculations and mathematics”. This term refers to those who struggle with basic number sense and early number concepts as well as have difficulties with math calculations and math reasoning.

These deficits can affect the following skills and academic areas:

Skill Areas

  • Visual / Auditory Perception
  • Visual / Auditory Memory
  • Visual / Auditory Sequencing
  • Visual-Motor Coordination
  • Spatial Relations (Sense of space)
  • Temporal Relations (Sense of time)
  • Abstract / Logical Thinking

Academic Areas

  • Spelling
  • Reading (decoding/comprehension)
  • Writing (handwriting/expression)
  • Math Computation & Application
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