Guide Focus

What are Learning Disabilities?

Role of Formal Assessment

LD Students in Your Composition Classroom

LD Students in a Writing Center Tutorial

Teacher Resources

An Introduction to Resources for Disabled Students

Annotated Bibliography

Relevant Websites

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Authors & Contributors

What Are Learning Disabilities?

You have probably heard of learning disabilities. You probably have also heard of 'learning differences," "specific learning styles,' and "different learning abilities." Do all of these describe the same thing? The answer to this question is a difficult one to address. There are many numbers of perspectives on learning, different epistemological perspectives that shape these descriptions, and many different interpretations of these perspectives. The purpose of this paper is not to try to decide which is accurate, nor even to negotiate between them. I will offer a very brief summary of the different perspectives, but will then propose that despite the perspective on cause, effect, and "treatment," certain students are having trouble with reading and writing, and there are strategies out there that can make these activities, well, less "trouble." Neurological, developmental, hereditary, social. Do not think of this as anything to do with intelligence (in fact, opposite -- see yourself as helping a brilliant student be able to tap that brilliance)

The easiest way to think of learning differences is: something "which affects the manner in which individuals with normal or above average intelligence take in, retain, and express information."