At Horizon Academy, we embrace the definition of a learning disability put forth by the National Center for Learning Disabilities which reads, “learning disabilities are more than a difference or difficulty with learning—it is a neurological disorder that limits the brain’s ability to receive, process, store, and respond to information.” Furthermore, “learning disabilities are a group of disorders that impact many areas of learning including reading, writing, spelling, math, listening, oral expression, and the development of effective and appropriate social skills.”
Dyslexia is a challenge with language. Students with dyslexia are much more likely to struggle with learning to read. Issues often begin with phonological awareness, a language skill that is critical for reading. Kids with poor phonological awareness have trouble recognizing and working with the sounds in words, specifically connecting letters with sounds, breaking words into sounds, and blending sounds into words. 80% of students diagnosed with learning disabilities have trouble with reading.
Dyscalculia is a disorder that significantly impacts a person’s ability to learn and perform in math at expected levels. There is no single profile of this disability. The signs of dyscalculia will vary from person to person and they will affect people differently at different times in their lives. Some people with dyscalculia have no trouble memorizing basic math facts. It’s performing calculations and solving problems that cause trouble. Others struggle with calculation and basic math operations like multiplication and division but they can grasp the big concepts and easily understand how a problem can be solved.
Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting, transcription abilities, trouble putting thoughts on paper and understanding the rules of writing.
Executive Function Disorder
Executive functioning challenges is a term that refers to weaknesses in a group of key skills we rely on every day. Kids who struggle with executive functions have trouble with self-regulations, working memory, flexible thinking, and attention. These skills make up the brain’s self-management system. Up to 90% of students with ADHD struggle with executive dysfunction.
Kids with auditory processing disorder can have trouble making sense of the sounds they hear. Sound discrimination means they can have trouble hearing the difference between certain sounds or may hear certain sounds incorrectly. As a result, they may say “dat” for “that”, or “free” for “three”. Students with auditory processing disorder may have a hard time connecting sounds to written words. Speech therapy can help kids with auditory processing disorder make those sounds better and more clearly.