What is a learning disability?


ld-tutoring-cognitive-solutions-learning-centerA learning disability, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia, is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.

When someone has a learning disability, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia,it means that he or she learns differently than most people, and that learning itself is usually more difficult. A learning disability is a condition that can effect anybody, regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender.


There must be a significant discrepancy between overall cognitive ability and achievement

The ability may be present, but for some reason(s), achievement is lacking. Ability is usually calculated through the use of an intelligence test. Achievement is determined by studying an individual’s performance in various academic areas (spelling, math, reading, written expression, etc.). Once both of these are measured, they are compared to determine if discrepancies exist.

The brain has a processing deficit, which impair the ability to process information

The brain must process all of the information that it receives from our senses, such as vision or hearing. For example, if one’s visual memory is weak it will cause that person to have great difficulty remembering what he or she sees. Other’s may easily recall what they’ve seen, but will have trouble processing the sounds they hear, causing them to struggle with sounds that are similar, like ‘m’ and ‘n.’ Everyone has different processing abilities, and processing deficits can have a negative effect on learning ability.

The processing deficit must prove to be directly contributing to underachievement

If a person does have trouble processing the sounds he or she hears, it must be discovered whether or not it is negatively impacting his or her academic performance. For example, difficulty with processing similar sounds may cause one to have trouble learning to read using the traditional, phonics based approach � causing a direct contribution to their underachievement.

The underachievement cannot be primarily due to factors other than the processing deficit

For an individual to have a Learning Disability, his or her underachievement cannot be due to other factors, such as mental retardation, epilepsy, sensory impairment (vision and hearing), or severe psychological disturbance. Although many with learning disabilities have other problems, these other concerns (i.e. depression and low self esteem) must be secondary to the learning disability.

Is Help Available?

Help is available if a learning disability or attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) is identified through these tests, and students can learn strategies for navigating areas that are difficult for them. Learning disabilities effect every person differently, and the disorder can range from mild to severe.

Depending on the type of learning disability and its severity (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD), as well as the person’s age, different kinds of assistance can be provided. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 people of all ages with learning disability or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are protected against discrimination and have a right to different forms of assistance in the classroom and workplace. Accommodations are also made on various standardized tests, including the ACT, SAT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT.

At Cognitive Solutions Learning Center, we take a unique approach to the diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities. Our thorough evaluation process ensures that our patients understand their cognitive, information processing, and learning profiles. The comprehensive and highly individualized intervention plans we create allow for very targeted supports and interventions. Our team of learning specialists work one on one with students of all ages to strengthen their information processing and executive skills, as well as remediate academic challenges.

Who can we help at Cognitive Solutions?

  • Children
  • Families
  • Students in grade school, high school, college and graduate programs
  • Children and adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Executives and CEO’s who want to improve their skills