Specific Learning Disabilities

A specific learning disability is:

  • A much poorer ability to achieve in one or more specific academic areas of learning than expected.
  • Due to the way the brain is processing information that is specifically related to the area or areas of learning affected.
  • Not due to poor hearing, poor eyesight, or lack of educational opportunity.


Dyslexia is a reading/spelling disability. It is the most well known form of a specific learning disability (dys = difficulty with; lexia = words).

Other specific learning disabilities include:

  • Dysgraphia: a neurologically based handwriting disability.
  • Dyscalculia: a neurologically based mathematical calculating disability.

Dyslexia - A Formal Definition:

  • Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin.
  • It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.
  • These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
  • Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

(As adopted by the International Dyslexia Association 2002)