LDs take so many forms, and vary in intensity so much, that it is not simple to list them all, but there are some broad categories which they all fall into:
LDs that affect organization and Focus:
A series of executive functions allow us to do things like plan, predict, organize and focus. LDs that interfere with these things can interfere with how we manage our lives and physical space. ADHD, which does affect executive functions, is coming to be seen as an LD because of this.
LDs that Affect Social Life:
We learn how to be socially successful, even though we don’t notice that we’re learning. So LDs that make it difficult to interpret facial expressions, body language, or tones of voice can have a real impact on a person’s social life.
LDs that affect Physical Interaction With the World:
Again, without knowing, we are constantly receiving information about our surroundings and about our bodies: our balance, coordination and movement are all based on this information. So an LD that interferes with how we understand that information can cause a person to be uncoordinated or “clumsy.”
LDs that Affect Academics:
Difficulties with spelling, reading, listening, focusing, remembering and writing can all have an impact on all areas of school-subjects.
Another way of categorizing LDs is by the specific area of processing involved – getting information into the brain (INPUT), making sense of this information (INTEGRATION), storing and later retrieving this information (MEMORY) or getting this information back out (OUTPUT). To read an article about this framework from the Learning Disabilities Association of America, please select this link.
LDAO Snapshots. We’ve created some one-page descriptions of a variety of types of LD and related issues; these are downloadable and printable, with some rights reserved. For more information on these Snapshots, please select this link.
Essentially, however, it is most useful to know that LDs can impact on anything we learn – and we learn most of what we know. The good news is that since LDs affect certain specific modes of learning, other modes can always be used to compensate.