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Learning Disabilities An Overview This semester we have spent the majority of our time learning about and discussing how we can best assist exceptional students Many of these students are individuals with learning dissabilities Although it would be difficult for every teacher to understand the distinctions symptoms weaknesses and strengths of every disability it can be very helpful to have a general knowledge of the disabilities that may hinder a students ability to learn Unlike other disabilities like paralysis and blindness a learning disability LD is a hidden handicap A learning disability does not disfigure or leave visible signs that would invite others to be understanding or offer support Council for Exceptional Children CEC1999 Therefore as teachers it will be our responsibility to provide that understanding and support for those children already diagnosed and also be alert to the warning signs that may be symptoms of a previously undetected disability The National Institute of Mental Health NIMH NIMH 1999 describes learning disabilities as follows LD is a disorder that effects peoples ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain These limitations can show up in many ways As specific difficulties with spoken and written language coordination self-control or attention Such difficulties extend to school work and can impede learning to read or write or to do math Learning disability can be lifelong conditions that in some cases affect many parts of a persons life school or work daily routines family life and sometimes even friendships In some people many overlapping learning disabilities may be apparent Other people may have a single isolated learning problem that has little impact on other areas of their lives National Center for Learning Disabilities NCLD 1999 It is important to remember that the term learning disability does not apply to students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of
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