Learning disabilities are due to genetic and/or neurobiological factors that alter brain functions in a manner which affects one or more processes related to learning. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also be related to with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention. It is important to realize that learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace. It can also be a source of bullying amongst smaller children.

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”. Learning disability, learning disorder or learning difficulty, is a condition in the brain that causes difficulties comprehending or processing information and can be caused by several different factors. Given the “difficulty learning in a typical manner”, this does not exclude the ability to learn in a different manner. Symptoms of dyslexia usually become more obvious when children start school and begin to focus more on learning how to read and write. People are often also quite unaware about this topic .The unknown factor is the disorder that affects the brain’s ability to receive and process information. This disorder can make it problematic for a person to learn as quickly or in the same way as someone who is not affected by a learning disability. People with a learning disability have trouble performing specific types of skills or completing tasks if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.

Preschool children

In some cases, it’s possible to detect symptoms of dyslexia before a child starts school. Symptoms can include: delayed speech development compared with other children of the same age (although this can have many different causes) speech problems, such as not being able to pronounce long words properly and “jumbling” up phrases (for example, saying “hecilopter” instead of “helicopter”, or “beddy tear” instead of “teddy bear”) problems expressing themselves using spoken language, such as being unable to remember the right word to use, or putting sentences together incorrectly little understanding or appreciation of rhyming words, such as “the cat sat on the mat”, or nursery rhymes difficulty with, or little interest in, learning letters of the alphabet.

School children

Symptoms of dyslexia usually become more obvious when children start school and begin to focus more on learning how to read and write. Symptoms of dyslexia in children aged 5 to 12 include: problems learning the names and sounds of letters spelling that’s unpredictable and inconsistent putting letters and figures the wrong way round (such as writing “6” instead of “9”, or “b” instead of “d”) confusing the order of letters in words reading slowly or making errors when reading aloud visual disturbances when reading (for example, a child may describe letters and words as seeming to move around or appear blurred) answering questions well orally, but having difficulty writing the answer down difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions struggling to learn sequences, such as days of the week or the alphabet slow writing speed poor handwriting problems copying written language and taking longer than normal to complete written work poor phonological awareness and word attack skills.

Word attack skills

Young children with dyslexia can also have problems with word attack skills. This is the ability to make sense of unfamiliar words by looking for smaller words or collections of letters that a child has previously learnt. For example, a child with good word attack skills may read the word “sunbathing” for the first time and gain a sense of the meaning of the word by breaking it down into “sun”, “bath”, and “ing”.

Causes of disabilities

The causes for learning disabilities are not well understood, and sometimes there is no apparent cause for a learning disability. However, some causes of neurological impairments include:

Heredity and genetics Learning disabilities are often linked through genetics and run in the family. Children who have learning disabilities often have parents who have the same struggle.

Problems during pregnancy and birth A learning disability can result from anomalies in the developing brain, illness or injury. Risk factors are fetal exposure to alcohol or drugs and low birth weight (3 pounds or less). These children are more likely to develop a disability in math or reading.


Learning disabilities is a field that is constantly changing. With the advent of techniques that allow scholars to study the brain in action, we may understand not only the normal process of reading but also what happens when the system is not working. The hope is that we will be able to prevent learning disabilities or, at the least, to develop innovative and successful interventions. It is also hoped that we will become more adept at identifying children at earlier ages to prevent some of the emotional and social difficulties that can be associated with a learning disability. Neuroscience is now promising new avenues in our study of learning disabilities as is genetics. Families who have a history of learning disability need further study to provide appropriate support for them as well as to assist with early interventions