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Research Paper: Learning Disability

Makeez Qaderi
Northern Virginia Community College

CHD 210
Deborah Stepien
February 23, 2016


Research Paper: Learning Disabilities

Some may believe people with learning disabilities are not capable of learning. Perhaps,
they are under the assumption that individuals with learning disabilities will greatly struggle
while learning. I personally believe that if educators use differentiated instructions in their
lesson plans or activities, it will enable children with learning disabilities to learn and achieve.
There are many different types of learning disabilities, so its vital for educators to be
knowledgeable so they can teach and support all students. Teachers must think outside the box
when helping students with learning disabilities and never use a one size fits all approach.
Learning disabilities were discovered in 1877. In 1877, a German neurologist named
Adolf Kussamau called learning disabilities "word blindness." In 1887 Rudolf Berlin create the
term dyslexia. In 1895 an Ophthalmologist named James Hinshelwood wrote in his medical
journal called The Lancet about word blindness. As the article "Timeline of Learning
Disabilities" states James Hinshelwood began to study children with "word blindness" (LD
OnLine, 2006).

Through his studies, he noticed children with word blindness are in need for

early identification. In 1896, Dr. W. Pringle Morgan wrote in the British medical journal about a
fourteen-year-old student who had word blindness from birth. In his journal, Morgan explained
how the child had problems with reading and spelling. As the article "Timeline of Learning
Disabilities" states "In 1963 Samuel A. Kirk was the first person to use the term "learning
disability"; at a conference in Chicago" (LD OnLine, 2006). In 1969 Children with Specific
Learning Disabilities Act was passed by congress, and this was the first legislation that
authorized support for children with learning disabilities. In 1975, The Education for All
Handicapped Children Act was passed. This law made it possible for free public education for all
children. In 1987 Interagency Committee sent out a report on learning disabilities. The report


was made in order to create a center for the Study of Learning and Attention (LD OnLine,
2006). The center's main objective was to broaden the research and understanding of learning
disabilities. In 1990 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) changed the term
"handicap" with "disabilities." Disorders such as Autism and traumatic brain injury were put on
eligibility list. In 1997 children with ADHD became eligible for and IEP. ADHD was put under
the category of "other health impaired."
As Learning Disabilities Association of America states "Learning disabilities are
neurologically-based processing problems"(Types of Learning Disabilities, 2016). Learning
disabilities are often known as the "hidden disabilities." Children with specific learning
disabilities look like any other child their age. They have an average or above average IQ.
However, the only difference is children with a specific learning disability struggle in basic areas
such as writing, reading, and math. They also have problems with listening, speaking, and
reasoning. Some children go throughout their whole life without being diagnosed with a learning
disabilities. Others do not get diagnosed until high school or college. The general symptoms for
learning disorders in children ages five through nine, are as the article "Learning Disabilities and
Disorders" states "Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds, confuses basic
words when reading, consistently misspells words and makes frequent reading errors, trouble
learning basic math concepts, difficulty telling time and remembering sequences, and slow to
learn new skills" (Types of Learning Disabilities, 2016).
There are many different types of learning disabilities. Some of the disabilities are
Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Language Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, and Visual Processing
Disorder. Dysgraphia is a disorder that hinders a person's fine motor skills and handwriting.
Often people with dysgraphia have trouble with note taking. As the Learning Disabilities


Association of America states some symptoms to look out for dysgraphia are "illegible
handwriting, has unfinished words or letters, inconsistent spacing between words and letters,
shows poor spatial planning on paper, has great difficulty thinking and writing at the same time,
and has cramped or unusual grip/may complain of sore hand"(Types of Learning Disabilities,
2016). Some differentiated instruction a teacher could use in a classroom are allowing a child to
use a word processor, record lectures, give oral exams, use pencil grips, or providing the student
with notes of the lecture.
Dyscalculia is a disorder that causes a person to struggle with math. Dyscalculia hinders
a child's ability to properly solve math problems, and telling time. As the article "Learning
Disabilities and Disorders" states "A child with a math-based learning disorder may struggle with
memorization and organization of numbers, operation signs, and number "facts" (like 5+5=10 or
5x5=25)" (Kemp, Smith, & Segal, 2016). Some symptoms of dyscalculia are, the child struggles
with understanding math word problems. The child may have trouble with putting information
and events in order. The child struggles with doing steps in math equations. Also, the child may
have problems with handling and counting money. A differentiated instruction that a teacher
could use in order to help children with dyscalculia, are allowing the child to solve a problem
with their fingers or on blank piece of paper. Also letting the child draw images of the word
Language Processing Disorder is a disorder that causes children to have problems with
expressive and receptive language. Some children with a language disorder only struggle with
either expressive language or receptive language. Other children struggle with both. Children
with language processing disorder develop language and speech the same way as their peers.
However, there speech and language is delayed. Therefore, it takes them longer to learn the


langue and speech than their peers. Children with language processing disorder often have
trouble following oral directions. They struggle with organizing their thoughts. They may use
tenses such as past, present and future incorrectly, and struggle to understand what a person tells
them in a conversation. They often have lower vocabulary skills than their peers. Children with
this disorder have trouble expressing their thoughts. Moreover, they struggle with thinking of the
right words when in a conversation. In order to help the children with this disorder, a teacher can
use differentiated instructions such as allowing the child to record a lecture. Allowing the child to
have peer assistance. The teacher can refer the child to a speech pathologist. In addition, the
teacher could write out the concepts of their lecture or lesson on the board.
Dyslexia is a disorder that causes children to struggle with reading. Children with
dyslexia mix up some letters while reading. In other words children with this disability struggle
with recognizing letters and words. Dyslexia can hinder a childs ability to decode while reading.
As well as, the ability to comprehend what they are reading. Dyslexia will cause the children to
struggle with reading fluency, spelling and writing. Some cases of dyslexia can also cause the
child to have trouble with speech. Some symptoms of dyslexia are the child reads slowly and
struggles with fluency. They may also struggle with handwriting, spelling and decoding words
Some differentiated instructions a teacher could use are when reading a book, have the
book on tape or cd. Moreover, when reading provide books with large texts. Give the child
accommodations such as using a computer or word processor in or outside of class. As Learning
Disabilities of Association of America states the teacher should "teach students to use logic
rather than rote memory. Also, when teaching use multi-sensory teaching methods" (Types of
Learning Disabilities, 2016).


Recent research on November 2, 2015, from University of California, Davis and Yale
University states "Identifying children with dyslexia as early as first grade could narrow or even
close the achievement gap with typical readers" (University of California Davis, 2015). In the
article "Early intervention in dyslexia can narrow the achievement gap," UC Davis psychology
professor, Emilio Ferrer discusses how early intervention can help narrow the achievement gap.
In the article Ferrer claims that in order to succeed in narrowing or closing the achievement gap
between dyslexic and typical readers; then "reading interventions must be implemented by
educators when children are still developing the basic foundation for reading acquisition" (Ferrer,
2015). Furthermore, Ferrer and Yale professors, Bennett and Sally Shaywitz believe that
providing proper reading programs to children in preschool or kindergarten will more than likely
expedite the potential of narrowing the achievement gap.
Visual processing disorder hinders the childs ability to comprehend or copy information
that is seen visually. Visual processing disorder has to do with the way a person's brain interprets
visual information. Children with visual processing disorder struggle with reading, math, and
writing. There are eight types of visual processing disorder. The eight types of visual processing
disorders are visual discrimination, visual figure-ground discrimination, visual sequencing,
visual-motor integration, long/short-term visual memory, visual-spatial, visual closure, and lastly
letter and symbol reversal. As Learning Disabilities of Association of America states children
with visual processing disorder "miss subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, lose place
frequently, struggle with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination."
(Types of Learning Disabilities, 2016). One possible indication of visual processing disorder
is when a child consistently struggles with solving math equations. When reading silently, the
child struggles to understand what they are reading. While reading or writing the child loses their


place often. The child may complain that their eyes hurt or itch. The child is clumsy and tend to
bump into things. Furthermore, the child struggles with copying notes correctly. Some
differentiated instructions that an educator can use are, having children in small groups when
doing activities, offering the child peer assistance, and providing books with large print. It might
also be helpful to let the child use a computer or word processor for written assignments.
As previously stated, there are a vast array of learning disabilities, and providing
materials and lesson plans that fit a childs development and learning style is important. I would
use differentiated instructions in order to help them understand what they are learning properly. I
would try and understand the needs of children in order to better educate them. Learning
disabilities are life long, so its vital to support children from an early age so their challenges
dont hinder their potential. I was found eligible for special education in first grade based on a
specific learning disability. Every year I would stay positive, work hard, and advocate for myself
when I needed help. I never wanted my challenges with learning to get in the way of my goals.
I was blessed to have supportive teachers that always helped and encouraged me along the way. I
never let the disability define me as someone who is not capable of learning or achieving.
Instead, I always told myself that I can learn, but I just learn differently. This mindset has gotten
me this far in life and I will continue to work hard for a better future.


Epstein, V. (2015, June 17). Visual Processing Disorder: Is This What Your Child Has.
Kaneshiro, N. K. (2014, June 25). Language Disorder - Children. Retrieved from
Kemp, G., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2016, February). Learning Disabilities and Disorders.



Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2016). Dyscalculia. Retrieved from
Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2016). Dysgraphia. Retrieved from
Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2016). Dyslexia. Retrieved from
Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2016). Language Processing Disorder. Retrieved
from http://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/
Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2016). Types of Learning Disabilities. Retrieved
from http://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/

Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2016). Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit.
Retrieved from http://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/
LD OnLine. (2015). Timeline of Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from
University of California - Davis. (2015, November 2). Early intervention in dyslexia can narrow
achievement gap: Intervention should begin in first grade, or earlier. Science Daily.
Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151102184216.htm