5 Most Common Learning Disabilities

1. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is perhaps the best known learning disability. It is a learning disorder that impedes the student’s ability to read and comprehend a text. There are a variety of ways in which this disability can be manifested. Some people struggle with phonemic awareness, which means they fail to recognize the way words break down according to sound. Similar problems can occur with phonological processing, wherein students cannot distinguish between similar word sounds. Other issues relate generally to fluency, spelling, comprehension and more. Students may experience one reading issue or multiple issues when struggling with dyslexia.


Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has affected more than 6.4 million children at some point. While there is some debate as to whether or not ADHD is a learning disability in the most technical sense, there is no doubt that it is a common learning impediment. Students who have ADHD have difficulty paying attention and staying on task. These students can be easily distracted and often have difficulty in traditional school settings. Experts link ADHD with the structure of the brain, and there is evidence that ADHD may have a genetic component as well. Unlike typical learning disabilities, which need instructional interventions, ADHD can be successfully treated with medications and behavioral therapies.

3. Dyscalculia

Math is another major area of concern when it comes to learning disabilities. While difficulty with reading can affect a student’s ability in math, some students also suffer from dyscalculia, which is a disorder that specifically affects one’s math capabilities. Dyscalculia can range from an inability to order numbers correctly and extend to limited strategies for problem solving. Students with math disorders may have trouble performing basic math calculations, or they may have difficulty with concepts like time, measurement or estimation.

4. Dysgraphia

While reading disabilities receive the most attention, writing disabilities can be equally difficult to overcome. These disabilities are known as dysgraphia. Dysgraphia can be related to the physical act of writing. These students often cannot hold a pencil correctly, and their posture may be tense while trying to write. This leads them to tire easily, causing discouragement that further inhibits progress. Dysgraphia can also refer to difficulty with written expression. With this type of disability, students have trouble organizing their thoughts coherently. Their writing may be redundant or have obvious omissions that affect the quality and readability of the text. Dysgraphia may also cause students to struggle with basic sentence structure and grammatical awareness.

5. Processing Deficits

Learning disabilities are also connected to processing deficits. When students have a processing deficit, they have trouble making sense of sensory data. This makes it hard for students to perform in a traditional classroom without instructional supports. These deficits are most often auditory or visual, and they can make it hard for students to distinguish and remember important information that is needed to succeed.

These five learning disabilities can manifest with varying degrees of severity, and some students may struggle with more than one. By understanding these disabilities, it is possible to find workable solutions so that every student can succeed in the classroom.

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