What is a Learning Disability?
A Learning Disability is diagnosed, by a psychologist only, when a comprehensive psychological assessment demonstrates that a person has at least Average cognitive ability (intelligence) and because of a specific information processing problem(s) has difficulties with academic achievement compared to his/her peers. Such cognitive deficits may include:
- Language abilities
- Perceptual reasoning
- Phonological decoding
- Problems with executive functions
- Visual-motor abilities
- Processing speed.
It should be noted that a diagnosis of a learning disability does not imply that a student lacks learning ability. Having a learning disability suggests that the student has the thinking and reasoning skills critical to the learning process, such as verbal comprehension and receptive language abilities, but also that the student possesses significant difficulties (called processing weaknesses) that interfere with their ability to learn certain types of information (in one or more subjects), in a manner or rate similar to their peers. This, in turn, often results in a significant discrepancy between cognitive abilities and academic achievement, which cannot be accounted for by factors such as lack of experience or effort.