The Commons
Learning disabilities (LDs) are neurologically-based and vary from mild or moderate to severe.

Often called invisible disabilities, LDs are real, and are permanent.
silhouette of person's hear with a number of learning disability names
People with learning disabilities have varying levels of intelligence.  A student with a learning disability may have difficulties with academic performance that seems at odds with the student’s intellect and ability level.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) defines a learning disability as "impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering, or learning. These include, but are not limited to: language processing; phonological processing; visual spatial processing; processing speed; memory and attention, and executive functions (e.g. planning and decision making)."

Learning Disabilities may also include the following:
  • Visual problems
  • Auditory problems
  • Mobility problems
  • Organization problems
  • Conceptual problems
See the drop down menus for more detailed descriptions that have been adapted from LDAC.


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Visual Problems arrow View
Visual problems are related to the difficulty someone's brain has with processing the information that their eyes take in. These are not conditions that will be eliminated by the use of glasses or contact lenses.

  • Poor visual memory - not remembering faces, words, or people's names
  • Visual perception - difficulty in seeing the differences between similar objects such as b and d or seeing reversals in writing (41 instead of 14)
  • Figure ground discrimination - not being able to find the place to write their name on an application form
  • Visual tracking - ability to follow a line on a page
Auditory Problems arrow View
Auditory learning disabilities are related to how we process the information we hear.
  • Auditory memory - difficulty remembering what has been said such as information and instructions
  • Auditory discrimination - trouble telling the difference between similar sounds or words such as bee and pea or seventeen and seventy
  • Auditory sequencing - confusion with number sequences, lists, or directions
  • Auditory figure ground - trouble hearing sounds over background noise
Mobility Problems arrow View
Mobility problems are related to various motor functions of the body.
  • Hand-eye coordination - difficulties with handwriting, etc
  • Small muscle control - misjudging where to place things
  • Large muscle control - clumsiness, difficulties with certain physical activities
Organizational Problems arrow View
In general, this is poor ability to organize time or space or sequencing.
  • Poor ability to organize time - not meeting deadlines, being late or too early, poor sense of time
  • Poor ability to organize tasks - not understanding the steps required to carry out a particular task such as planning a party or a move
  • Poor ability to organize space - organizing a closet, desk, or laying out a page in a written document
  • Impairment of executive function - a person’s ability to analyze things, apply information in a new way or adapt to new circumstances