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Learning Disorders
Basic Information

Learning Disorders are diagnosed when a student’s achievement in particular areas of learning (such as spoken or written language, mathematics abilities, etc.), as measured by formal and standardized tests of academic achievement) are significantly less well developed than would be expected given that students’ intelligence (as measured by a formal and standardized test of intelligence), and grade level. Formal subtypes of learning disorder (as documented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the clinician’s diagnostic bible) include: Reading Disorder, Mathematics Disorder, and Disorder of Written Expression. As with most disorder families, a ‘not otherwise specified’ catchall category is made available so that cases that don’t quite fit the established categories can be described.

Learning disorders are true clinical disorders that are likely founded in slightly (or not so slightly) abnormal brain development, and are not just clinical labels given to excuse poor performance in otherwise normal students. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities website, “Learning disabilities are neurological disorders that interfere with a person's ability to store, process, or produce information, and create a "gap" betw...

 
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