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Learning disabilities

 

A person has learning difficulties if he / she is unable to function in relation to the requirements for reading, writing or arithmetic - whether it is at school, at work or in leisure time in general.

Photo: by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


What are learning disabilities?

There are very many who have greater or lesser learning difficulties - about 30% according to public surveys. Many of these do not know that they have a learning disability that it is actually possible to do something about. Many also feel that others perceive them as stupid, less gifted or unskilled, and this can give low self-esteem. People with learning disabilities are unfortunately overrepresented among those who drop out of school, are unemployed, have disability benefits, etc.

Many people with learning difficulties also succeed well, but can have major problems if they suddenly experience major changes (e.g. have to change jobs and have to retrain). They are often good at remembering, creative, good at arguing - and used to having to work hard to achieve something. With adaptations and aids, most people achieve very good results. 

Learning disabilities often have nothing to do with intelligence. Even the genius Albert Einstein was plagued with reading and writing difficulties. Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad built himself up to become one of the world's richest men - despite his dyslexia. 

 

Different types of learning difficulties

 

  1. Dyslexia is a specific reading and writing difficulty. In folklore, the word dyslexic is often used. Dyslexia means that the brain's ability to transform writing into intelligible language, or language into intelligible writing, is impaired. This has nothing to do with intelligence or abilities. Research shows that the condition dyslexia is often genetic (hereditary). About 6% of the population has dyslexia, and 2-3% have severe dyslexia.
  2. Math difficulties or dyscalculia involves difficulties that are usually associated with the basic types of arithmetic (plus, minus, multiplication and division), but have nothing to do with intelligence or abilities. The ability to understand more advanced mathematics is often present, although many have not been able to function well enough in teaching to demonstrate this. About 5% of the population has dyscalculia, and it is estimated that the condition (disease) is genetically (hereditary).
  3. Dysgraphy is a learning difficulty that simply involves a reduced ability to write, but without it being due to having little mobility in the hand. It can lead to a loss of valuable learning because it takes longer to write, and can also lead to you not being shown what you have in knowledge because you do not get enough time to communicate yourself in writing. Facilitation through the use of a PC as a writing tool, and extended time on tests are important measures. 
  4. The designation general learning difficulties is often used about people who have a weak level of function in basic competence (reading, writing and / or mathematics), and can come for various reasons. Many with general learning difficulties have probably over the years been mistakenly labeled as less resourceful in terms of ability - with the consequences it can have.
  5. Mental retardation or weak ability level naturally leads to difficulties with learning, and is a difficulty that means that one has difficulty understanding in various subjects that are linked to a cognitive immaturity. Simply put, people with mental retardation will have good opportunities to learn, if the learning is put on a simpler level, for example that you use materials from some grade levels below.
  6. Specific language difficulties is a learning difficulty which means that you have weaker language learning prerequisites, while you normally have good learning skills in the practical area. Children with this learning disability often have academic difficulties, and can be mistaken for being less resourceful. On the other hand, they show strength in practical skills and through practical learning, and are well placed to learn if one facilitates as much practical learning as possible, as opposed to a purely theoretical approach. 
  7. Non-verbal learning disabilities or non-verbal learning difficulties is a learning difficulty which means that one has weaker practical learning prerequisites, while one usually has good learning skills in the linguistic areas. Such children are often said to have an invisible learning disability, as the good language "covers" the difficulties one has. Children struggle to read non-verbal communication and often have difficulties in communication and social interaction. Many children with Asperger's or high-functioning autism have non-verbal learning difficulties.

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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