Learning Disabilities

A large, open book yellowed page edges lying flat on a white surface, a few page leafs sticking up. A dark red question mark is floating on one set of pages, as though the point is holding the book open.

Learning Objectives

This module will help you to:

  1. Understand the definition of learning disability.
  2. Understand the underlying causes of and processes affected by learning disabilities.
  3. Describe some of the difficulties experienced by people with learning disabilities.
  4. Know what people with learning disabilities need in order to be successful.


According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC; 2015):

Learning disabilities (LD) refer to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding, or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. As such, learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual deficiency.

Learning disabilities range in severity and may interfere with the acquisition and use of one or more of the following areas:

  • Oral language (e.g., listening, speaking, understanding)
  • Reading (e.g., decoding, phonetic knowledge, word recognition, comprehension)
  • Written language (e.g., spelling and written expression)
  • Mathematics (e.g., computation, problem solving)
  • Organizational skills
  • Social perception, interaction, and perspective taking