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What you should know about LDs


Myths About LDs

Learning Disabilities: Myths or Realities

The Truth About LD:

Learning disabilities are a common — but occasionally misunderstood — condition that affects children and adults alike. Read on to separate fact from fiction, and educate yourself about LD.

Myth 1: Learning disabilities are more common in people with low intelligence.

False! By definition, a learning disability can only be diagnosed in someone with average or above-average intelligence. Those with learning disabilities often have a high IQ — however, the LD is holding them back from demonstrating their true intelligence in daily achievements

Myth 2: LD is only a problem in school settings.

Not true. While learning disabilities certainly make school more difficult, their influence can extend beyond the classroom. Difficulties expressing yourself verbally can lead to social problems, and LD can hold people back in the workplace — particularly if their job is heavily linked to reading, writing, or math.

Myth 3: Dyslexics read backwards.

This is a common myth, but it simply isn’t true. Dyslexia comes in many forms, and while some people may experience word reversal (seeing “bat” as “tab,” for instance), not all dyslexics experience this. Some struggle with single letter reversal (reading “does” as “dose,” for example), while others have difficulties telling single letters apart or stringing multiple sounds together to form a word.

Myth 4: Children with LD are just lazy or unmotivated.

This myth plagues children with ADHD, too. A learning disability is not a character flaw, and children who struggle with LD are often trying as hard — or harder — than their peers. It’s important that parents and teachers offer support and understanding; otherwise, children with learning disabilities can develop low self-esteem or set low expectations for themselves and become apathetic about school and their future.

Myth 5: Accommodations give kids an unfair advantage; that’s why so many claim to have LD.

Accommodations for LD mirror those for any other legal disability — they exist to level the playing field and help children with LD stand eye-to-eye with their peers. In reality, only 24 percent of college students with LD inform their schools about their condition — indicating that students are not eager to self-disclose, even when doing so would provide them with much-needed accommodations.

Myth 6: Lack of parental involvement causes LD.

While researchers aren’t exactly clear what causes LD, they know what doesn’t cause it — and parental involvement in early childhood is not a factor. Other mythical causes of LD include vaccinations, bad teachers, or too much television.

Myth 7: Learning disabilities affect more boys than girls.

This one is tricky. While more boys are diagnosed with learning disabilities (66 percent of children receiving accommodations in the United States are boys), experts believe that they actually affect both genders at the same rate. Girls may be flying under the radar, and may require closer observation and more proactive intervention.

Myth 8: Glasses can help fix learning disabilities, particularly dyslexia.

Learning disabilities have nothing to do with vision. Many parents assume that their child struggles with reading because he can’t make out the letters — and certainly vision tests should be conducted on all children to rule out potential problems — but dyslexia is a brain-based disorder, not a vision-based one.

Myth 9: People with LD can’t be successful.

This is far from the truth! Many successful people have LD, including some famous folks — like Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Aniston, and Steven Spielberg. Success stories like these prove that LD challenges need not preclude a person from achieving the highest levels in society.

Myth 10: Medication can be used to treat LD.

Many people wrongly believe that learning disabilities can be treated with stimulant medications, much like ADHD. However, medications have no effect on learning disabilities. If the child also suffers from ADHD, stimulants can help control attention-related symptoms, but it’s important for the learning disability to be separately diagnosed — and treated.

Learning Disabilities Association of Canada

Signs of LD

Signs of A Learning Disability

** Reprinted with permission from the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities

If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child’s learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a successful and productive life.

A recent National Institute of Health study showed that 67% of young students who were at risk for reading disabilities became average or above average readers after receiving help in the early grades.

Parents are often the first to notice that ‘something doesn’t seem right.’ There may be a number of reasons why your child is having a hard time. But what you are seeing could also indicate a learning disability. This does not mean your child is “slow” or less intelligent than her peers. Her brain is simply wired differently for learning and she needs to adapt strategies that make the most of her abilities. The earliest possible intervention is critical to her success in school.

If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities, you will be able to recognize potential problems early. Learn to recognize the signs of a potential learning disability.

It is normal for parents to observe one of these signs in their children from time to time. But if your child consistently exhibits several of these signs, it is important for you to take action to get him/her the help that he needs.


Have you noticed that your child has:

  • Spoken later then most children
  • pronunciation problems?
  • difficulty finding the right word?
  • difficulty making rhymes?
  • trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors and shapes?
  • trouble concentrating?
  • trouble interacting with peers?
  • difficulty following directions or learning routines?
  • difficulty controlling pencil, crayons, scissors?
  • difficulty with buttoning, zipping, typing skills?

Grades K-4

Does your child…

  • have an unstable pencil grip?
  • Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, ÷, = )
  • have trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds?
  • confuse basic words? (run, eat, want)
  • make consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d, inversions (m/w) ,transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)?
  • experience difficulty learning basic math concepts?
  • have trouble learning about time?
  • take a long time to learn new skills?
  • have trouble remembering facts?

Grades 5-8

Is your child having difficulty:

  • with reading comprehension or math skills?
  • with letter sequences? (soiled for solid, left for felt)
  • with prefixes, suffixes, root words and other spelling strategies?
  • organizing his/her bedroom, notebook, papers, and desk?
  • keeping up with papers or assignments?
  • with handwriting?
  • with time management?
  • understanding oral discussions and expressing thoughts aloud?
  • High School and Adults
  • Is the student having difficulty:
  • spelling the same word differently in a single document?
  • with reading or writing tasks?
  • with open-ended questions on tests.
  • with memory skills?
  • adapting skills from one setting to another.
  • with a slow work pace?
  • grasping abstract concepts?
  • focusing on details?
  • with misreading information?
  • paying too little attention to details or focuses on them too much?
  • With summarizing?

It is never too early to seek help for your child, but waiting too long could be very harmful. If you see several of these signs over a period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability. Knowing what a difference early help can make will help you lose your fear and take the next steps to getting help for yourself and your child!

Learning Disabilities Association of Canada

Common Terms


Understanding Learning Disabilities


Prevalence of Learning Disabilities


Official Definition of Learning Disabilities


A Working Description of Learning Disabilities


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