Charles D. Weinstein, Ph.D.: Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Learning Disorders

By definition, a learning disability or disorder is when there is a significant discrepancy between the individual’s cognitive or intellectual abilities and a specific area of functioning or a more general area of functioning.

There are several different types of learning disorders:

The first three are referred to as specific learning disabilities. In other words, an individual may have strong academic skills except in a specific area where there is significantly weak functioning. The other three refer to more general areas of functioning. Verbal learning disabilities refer to difficulties in areas involving language. Nonverbal learning disabilities refer to difficulties in areas involving visual-motor functioning, visual-perceptual functioning, motor functioning, and academic subjects such as certain math courses (e.g., geometry) and science courses (e.g., physics). Executive functioning refers to the ability to plan and organize. This area of functioning does not develop in individuals until late elementary school or middle school.

Assessment of learning disorders consists of a number of comprehensive tests. These tests assess verbal and nonverbal abilities, intellectual and cognitive functioning, visual-perceptual functioning, motor functioning, visual-motor functioning, visual, visual-motor, and verbal memory, academic skills, and planning and organizational skills. In addition, information is gathered from caretakers and teachers.

Psychologists administer these tests. Independent of assessing for learning disorders, these tests help to clarify the ways an individual processes information and learns.

If an individual is diagnosed with a learning disorder, educational therapy and behavior management are the most effective interventions. Students of all ages with learning disorders qualify for appropriate accommodations through their schools.

For more detailed information regarding learning disorders, contact the following link:

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDAamerica)