Specific Learning Disability « Utah Parent Center
Open print viewShare this page

Specific Learning Disability

Utah’s Special Education Rules define specific learning disabilities as “disorders in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia, that affects a student’s educational performance.  “Specific learning disability” does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of intellectual disability; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.”

For information about how eligibility is determined for special education services for students in Utah with specific learning disabilities, refer to Utah’s Special Education Rules (http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/Laws,-State-Rules-and-Policies/Rules-and-Regulations.aspx) on pages 46-48.

Learning disability is a general term that describes specific kinds of learning problems. A learning disability can cause a person to have trouble learning and using certain skills. The skills most often affected are: reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning, and doing math.

“Learning disabilities” is not the only term used to describe these difficulties. Others include:

  • dyslexia—which refers to difficulties in reading;
  • dysgraphia—which refers to difficulties in writing; and
  • dyscalcula—which refers to difficulties in math.

All of these are considered learning disabilities.

Learning disabilities (LD) vary from person to person. One person with LD may not have the same kind of learning problems as another person with LD. Sara, in our example above, has trouble with reading and writing. Another person with LD may have problems with understanding math. Still another person may have trouble in both of these areas, as well as with understanding what people are saying.

Researchers think that learning disabilities are caused by differences in how a person’s brain works and how it processes information. Children with learning disabilities are not “dumb” or “lazy.” In fact, they usually have average or above average intelligence. Their brains just process information differently.

There is no “cure” for learning disabilities. They are life-long. However, children with LD can be high achievers and can be taught ways to get around the learning disability. With the right help, children with LD can and do learn successfully.

This information is from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY).

It’s very helpful to read more about specific learning disabilities. Following are links to additional information:

Specific Learning Disabilities under IDEA 2004

Specific Learning Disability Resources

NICHCY Learning Disability Resources

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) offers brief, but detailed fact sheets on specific learning disabilities. Each fact sheet defines the disability, describes its characteristics, offers tips for parents and teachers, and connects you with related information and organizations with special expertise.

Learning Disabilities Association of Utah (LDAU)
LDAU is committed to a world where people with learning disabilities are valued and respected and their potential realized. LDAU is also committed to providing meaningful support that brings effective improvement to the lives of all people impacted by learning disabilities.

LD Online
LD Online is a service of WETA , Washington, D.C., in association with The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities. It is a leading web site on learning disabilities for parents, teachers, and other professionals.

Learning Ally
Founded in 1948 as Recording for the Blind, Learning Ally serves more than 300,000 K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Learning Ally’s collection of more than 65,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles – downloadable and accessible on mainstream as well as specialized assistive technology devices – is the largest of its kind in the world. More than 6,000 volunteers across the U.S. help to record and process the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success.  Learning Ally, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is funded by grants, state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations.

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
NCLD works to ensure that the nation’s 15 million children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and life.

[Back to Top]