Many brain problems result in learning inefficiencies. A collection of symptoms that often occur together form a syndrome. Syndromes are given terms and are studied by scientists and educators.
Usually, not everyone in every field of study agrees on the same definitions, terms, and group of symptoms that are used to describe a syndrome. In fact, the terms, definitions, causes, symptoms, and treatments frequently differ among fields of study or thought: education, law, and science.
Even within a field, definitions and terms differ (ex. neurology, neuropsychology, psychology, educational psychology, etc.).
Don't let one professional's lack of confidence or experience with a syndrome or term, dissuade you from obtaining the help that you need. Keep searching until you find an aqequately informed and experienced expert in a given syndrome so that you can get properly assessed, diagnosed and treated.
The terms learning disorder and learning disability and learning difficulty are frequently interchanged. People can have symptoms from several different syndromes.
Common syndromes that pose barriers to learning:
- Dyscalculia: AKA Math Learning Disability (MLD); LD-Math; Specific Learning Disability in Mathematics; Acalculia; Developmental Dyscalculia; Numerical Impairment; Gerstmann Syndrome; math anxiety; and number blindness; Non-verbl Learning Disability (NLD).
- Dyslexia: AKA Word Blindness; Reading Disability; Specific Learning Diability in reading, writing and spelling.
- Dysgraphia (penmanship / handwriting disability): AKA Specific Learning Disability in handwriting or penmanship.
- Auditory Processing Disorder: (APD), Specific Learning Disbility with impairment in listening.
- Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Aspergers Syndrome
- Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
- Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder, DCD)
Definitions of Learning Disabilities
Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs) in Mathematics, Reading, and Written Expression are defined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. SLD is defined as a "Specific Learning Disorder-- with impairment in Mathematics (315.1), Reading (315.0), or Written Expression (315.2). SLD is "a neurodevelopmental disorder of biological origin manifested in learning difficulties and problems in acquiring academic skills markedly below age level and manifested in the early school years, lasting for at least 6 months, not attributed to intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders, or neurological or motor disorders."
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines Specific Learning Disability (SLD) as "a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. See more at 34 CFR 300.8 (10).
Section 504 and ADAAA
Civil Rights for the Disabled (Learning and otherwise): According to the US Department of Education, the Federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The law states that "no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."