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The 10 Essentials to Keep in Mind When Working with Children with LD

Rick Lavoie's essential 10-point philosophy for understanding and managing the behavior of children with learning disabilities.

Symptoms of Learning Disabilities

Rick Lavoie discusses the wide variety of behavioral symptoms associated with Learning Disabilities.

7 Things to Know About the 1 in 5 with Learning and Attention Issues

The term "learning and attention issues" covers a wide range of challenges kids may face in school, at home and in the community. It includes all children who are struggling — whether their issues have been formally identified or not. Learning and attention issues are brain-based difficulties, and they often run in families. Find resources that can help kids be successful in school and in life!

Landmark School Outreach Program

The Landmark School Outreach Program's mission is to empower students with language-based learning disabilities by offering their teachers an exemplary program of applied research and professional development. Our strategies help educators broaden their thinking about how to teach students with language-based learning disabilities, providing the bridge that links teachers with the evidence-based practices that improve student outcomes.


Understood is a comprehensive resource for parents of kids with learning & attention issues that provides clear answers, simple tools, & ongoing support.

"Learning Disabilities" Movement Turns 50

Fifty years ago, the learning disabilities (LD) advocacy movement began. This article by Landmark College education professor Dr. Jim Baucom explores the history of the movement and future directions. The article originally appeared on the Washington Post web site on April 12th, 2013.

Dyslexia and the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association, includes codes for all mental health disorders currently recognized. Small changes in the DSM can have a major impact on how conditions are understood and treated. Revisions to the 5th edition, to be released in May, 2013, include changes to the name and types of learning disabilities that are identified within the document. Between now and June 15, 2012, the DSM-5 Development team welcomes comments and questions on these changes.

Loneliness, Self-Efficacy, and Hope: Often Neglected Dimensions of the LD Learning Process

Students with learning disabilities often feel lonely and socially isolated in school. Learn more about how families can help their children build resilience, self-esteem, motivation, and family relationships.

Language-Based Learning Disability: What to Know

Language-based learning disabilities (LBLD) encompass a spectrum of cognitive and behavioral differences in processing, comprehending, and using language. Students with LBLD commonly experience difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, math, organization, attention, memory, social skills, perseverance, and self-regulation. However, a teaching style that is specialized and structured enables students with LBLD to succeed. Learn the essential facts about how to foster the strengths of students with LBLD in this article.

Understanding the Different Types of LD: A Blog Post by John Wills Lloyd, Ph.D.

John Wills Lloyd, who has been at the University of Virginia's Curry School since 1978, began his career teaching children with learning and behavior problems in southern California in the 1960s. He completed Ph.D. studies at the University of Oregon in 1976. His research focuses on improving students' outcomes. Below John writes about subtyping LD. You can follow all of John's posts at LD Blog.

Is a learning disability a form of "mental illness?"

Recently the disabilities specialist resigned at the college where I'm on the faculty; and, as opposed to hiring someone new for the position, the administration gave the responsibility to one of our counselors. He has claimed to the faculty that learning disabilities are a form of "mental illness."

I have read that learning disabilities are more like a difference than an illness. I asked him about this, and he claims that because learning disabilities are listed as learning disorders in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), that makes them mental illness. What do you think?

Learning disabilities are a neurologically-based disorder that is recognized in Federal Legislation (IDEA, ADA). It is not a mental illness.

(February 2011)

What is the difference between dyslexia and a specific learning disability in reading?

What is the difference between dyslexia and a specific learning disability in reading? Are they the same or is the term based on regional terminology?

Specific learning disability is the official term used today for students with learning disabilities. Such disabilities might impact reading, writing, math, or other areas. Dyslexia is no longer an official term used under federal education law. This term was initially used to describe a language-based (i.e., phonologically-based) reading disability.

(November 2009)

Is LD passed on to offspring?

I was diagnosed with LD in math and reading when I was in eighth grade. Recently, my daughter has had problems with reading and writing. She is 6 years old and I was just wondering if LD is passed on to offspring.

There is a strong family pattern for learning disabilities. I would encourage you to keep a close eye on your daughter. If she continues to struggle, ask the school to evaluate her for possible learning disabilities.

(October 2009)

I Have Dyslexia. What Does That Mean?

Shelley Ball-Dannenberg discusses her new children's book about what it’s like to have a reading disability.

Writing Disabilities: An Overview

Learn from an expert why some kids with learning disabilities struggle with writing and how some instructional approaches can help.

State of Learning Disabilities 2009

This comprehensive new report by the National Center for Learning Disabilities provides benchmark data on the number of people in the U.S. with LD and how they are faring in schools, universities, and workplaces.

What can you do about programs that say they help LD, but lack evidence that they succeed?

I am concerned about programs like Brain Gym and Bal-A-Vis-X, which claim to be beneficial for children with learning disabilities, ADHD, behavioral disorders, and a whole host of other problems. These programs are being implemented in schools without a shred of controlled research to document such claims. Can anything be done to stop them?

I share your concern. The definition of a “controversial therapy” is either that: (1) there is no evidence to support the concept; (2) there is clear evidence to show that the concept does not work; or, (3) the concept is being used for financial gain before there is research to validate that the concept is correct. I believe that the programs you refer to fit definitions 1 and 3.

The problem is that if a parent has a child with a disability, he or she is vulnerable to anyone who says they can help or fix their child. Such parents are at risk for spending time and money and for putting their child through programs that will not accomplish what is stated. The organizations will not change. The best hope is to educate parents and to remind them, “the buyer beware.”

(January 2009)

Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes

Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes is an organization dedicated to enhancing human learning. The organization was founded by authors of critically acclaimed programs that teach children and adults to read, spell, comprehend, and express language.

The Positive Side of Learning Disabilities and ADHD

LD OnLine is sharing the positive side of learning disabilities. Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, and other challenges can often present possibilities for personal growth and achievement.

How can I learn my basic academic skills when the high school will not help me?

I am an early high school student. I just completed eighth grade, but I find that a lot of my skills seem well below my classmates' skills. I have had a learning disability since before I can remember. I have dysgraphia, fine motor difficulties, and speech difficulties. However, I take a combination of regular, college prep, and honors classes. I am in no "special education classes" with the exception of supplemental.

I know for a fact that my skills in grammar, written expression, and spelling are well below the eighth grade level. I am receiving no help in those areas outside of my college prep English class. My teacher seems to think of me as "stupid." I have asked for extra help but she seems too busy to provide any after or before school help.

So instead, she sent me home with English text books to borrow over summer which doesn't help much since it takes me hours to get through one page due to my handwriting difficulties. I learned very little in her class and I know the skills I lack in are not taught in high school but in elementary and middle school. I fear that without these skills I won't be able to be successful in school and work.

A tutor is financially out of the question and my case worker, who also happens to be my supplemental teacher, doesn't seem to think that I lack these skills or just doesn't realize it. I find she doesn't pick up on a lot of my difficulties. How can I learn these skills that I need (e.g. basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary) if I will not receive it through my classes? Do you have any suggestions?

First, discuss your concerns about your skills with your parents. Your parents could request an assessment of your skills by the school, or possibly through a professional outside the school. If you currently have an IEP, the school should also evaluate you to determine whether assistive technology could be a helpful accommodation. Under IDEA, possible technology accommodations must be considered for students with disabilities in addition to other accommodations and modifications as part of the IEP process.

There are a number of software programs available that can assess your skill levels in reading and mathematics, including AutoSkill, Skill Detective, and Skill Navigator. These programs will then provide you with targeted activities and lessons to help you improve areas of deficit. Because many of these programs are specifically designed for use in schools, your school would have to order one for your use.

It may be worthwhile to have your parents discuss your skill levels with your teachers and determine whether skill-building software might be a helpful solution for helping to get you caught up with your peers. Once you start improving your writing and grammar skills, I'd also recommend finding ways to engage in more writing opportunities outside of school.

If there is something you are particularly interested in, or know a great deal about, you might consider starting your own blog or contributing to a public blog or to a wiki. Consistent experience with writing in a more informal and "fun" setting might make you more comfortable with writing. The more you write, the more you'll have the opportunity to practice your new skills and continue to improve.

Note from LD OnLine: Visit Dr. Silver's About LD section to see a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist's response to the same question.

(October 2008)

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