Reading Disabilities

learning disabilities

learning disabilities, in education, any of various disorders involved in understanding or using spoken or written language, including difficulties in listening, thinking, talking, reading, writing, spelling, or arithmetic. They may affect people of average or above-average intelligence. Learning disabilities include conditions referred to as perceptual handicaps, minimal brain dysfunction (MBD), dyslexia, developmental aphasia, and attentional deficit disorder (ADD); they do not include learning problems due to physical handicaps (e.g., impaired sight or hearing, or orthopedic disabilities), mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or cultural or environmental disadvantage. Techniques for remediation are highly individualized, including the simultaneous use of several senses (sight, hearing, touch), slow-paced instruction, and repetitive exercises to help make perceptual distinctions. Students are also assisted in compensating for their disabilities; for example, one with a writing disability may use a tape recorder for taking notes or answering essay questions. Behavior often associated with learning disabilities includes hyperactivity (hyperkinesis), short attention span, and impulsiveness. School programs for learning-disabled students range from a modified or supplemental program in regular classes to placement in a special school, depending upon the severity of the disability. The field of learning disabilities is considered to have emerged as a separate discipline in 1947 with the publication of the book Psychopathology and Education of the Brain-Injured Child by neuropsychiatrist Alfred A. Strauss and Laura E. Lehtinen. The need to help students with these disabilities was first recognized on the federal level in 1958, when Congress appropriated $1 million to train teachers for the mentally retarded. Famous people considered to have had a learning disability include Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, and Nelson Rockefeller.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Our Labeled Children: What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know about Learning Disabilities
Elena L. Grigorenko; Robert J. Sternberg.
Perseus, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Part II "The Science of Reading Disabilities"
Perspectives on Learning Disabilities: Biological, Cognitive, Contextual
Robert J. Sternberg; Louise Spear-Swerling.
Westview Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Genes, Environment, and Reading Disabilities," Chap. 5 "Phonologically Based Reading Disabilities: Toward a Coherent Theory of One Kind of Learning Disability," and Chap. 6 "Reading Disabilities and the Interventionist"
The Connections between Language and Reading Disabilities
Hugh W. Catts; Alan G. Kamhi.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
Visual Processes in Reading and Reading Disabilities
Dale M. Willows; Richard S. Kruk; Evelyne Corcos.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1993
Developmental Perspectives on Children with High-Incidence Disabilities
Ronald Gallimore; Lucinda P. Bernheimer; Donald L. MacMillan; Deborah L. Speece; Sharon Vaughn.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Reading Disabilities"
Reading Comprehension Difficulties: Processes and Intervention
Cesare Cornoldi; Jane Oakhill.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996
Off Track: When Poor Readers Become "Learning Disabled"
Louise Spear-Swerling; Robert J. Sternberg.
Westview Press, 1996
Speaking, Reading, and Writing in Children with Language Learning Disabilities: New Paradigms in Research and Practice
Katharine G. Butler; Elaine R. Silliman.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Language Basis of Reading: Implications for Classification and Treatment of Children with Reading Disabilities"
Subtypes of Learning Disabilities: Theoretical Perspectives and Research
Lynne V. Feagans; Elizabeth J. Short; Lynn J. Meltzer.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Genetic Etiology of Individual Differences in Reading Disability"
Children with Reading Disabilities: Does Dynamic Assessment Help in the Classification?
Swanson, H. Lee; Howard, Crystal B.
Learning Disability Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 1, Winter 2005
Reading and Spelling: Development and Disorders
Charles Hulme; R. Malatesha Joshi.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
The Causes of High and Low Reading Achievement
Ronald P. Carver.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Search for more books and articles on reading disabilities