Source: American Psychiatric Association

Learning Disabilities can hinder a child’s progress in school. The most common ones present are Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia. These are classed as Specific Learning Disorders.

As per the American Psychiatric Association, a specific learning disorder is a developmental disorder that manifests by school-age, although it may not be recognized until later.

It involves constant problems in learning key academic skills, including reading, writing and math. Specific learning disorder does not result from lack of instruction or poor instruction.

In order to fit the diagnosis, a person must have difficulties in at least one of the following areas for at least 6 months despite targeted help.

  • Difficulty reading (e.g. inaccurate, slow and only with much effort).
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read.
  • Difficulty with spelling.
  • Difficulty with written expression (e.g. problems with grammar, punctuation or organization).
  • Difficulty understanding number concepts, number facts or calculation.
  • Difficulty with mathematical reasoning (e.g. applying math concepts or solving math problems).

Additionally, other possible causes of learning difficulties need to be ruled out as well in order to receive a diagnosis of specific learning disability

  • Intellectual disabilities.
  • External factors, such as economic or environmental disadvantage or lack of instruction.
  • Vision or hearing problems, a neurological condition (e.g. pediatric stroke) or motor disorders.

DYSLEXIA: refers to learning difficulties related to word recognition, decoding and spelling. Reading problems can include difficulties with reading accuracy, reading rate or fluency, and reading comprehension.

DYSGRAPHIA: is a term used to describe difficulties with handwriting. Problems with written expression can include difficulties with spelling, grammar and punctuation, and with clarity or organization of written expression.

DYSCALCULIA: is a term used to describe difficulties learning math facts and performing math calculations. Problems with math can include difficulties with number sense, memorizing math facts, math calculations or math reasoning/problem solving.



  • Provide a quiet area for activities like reading, and answering comprehension questions.
  • Use books on tape.
  • Use books with large print and big spaces between lines.
  • Provide a copy of lecture notes.
  • Don’t count spelling on history, science or other similar tests.
  • Allow alternative forms for book reports.
  • Allow the use of a laptop or other computer for in-class essays.
  • Use multi-sensory teaching methods.
  • Teach students to use logic rather than rote memory.
  • Present material in small units.



  • Suggest use of word processor.
  • Avoid chastising student for sloppy, careless work.
  • Use oral exams.
  • Allow use of tape recorder for lectures.
  • Allow the use of a note taker.
  • Provide notes or outlines to reduce the amount of writing required.
  • Reduce copying aspects of work (pre-printed math problems).
  • Allow use of wide rule paper and graph paper.
  • Suggest use of pencil grips and/or specially designed writing aids.
  • Provide alternatives to written assignments (video-taped reports, audio-taped reports).



  • Allow use of fingers and scratch paper.
  • Use diagrams and draw math concepts.
  • Provide peer assistance.
  • Suggest use of graph paper.
  • Suggest use of colored pencils to differentiate problems.
  • Work with manipulatives.
  • Draw pictures of word problems.
  • Use mnemonic devices to learn steps of a math concept.
  • Use rhythm and music to teach math facts and to set steps to a beat.
  • Schedule computer time for the student for drill and practice.


Excerpted from the LDA of California and UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute “Q.U.I.L.T.S.” Calendar 2001-2002