What Is a Reading Learning Disability?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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A reading learning disability may affect an individual's ability to read, ability to learn, or ability to both read and learn. Thees disabilities may impact an individual in the sense that they will affect such an individual’s capacity to listen, write, read, reason or speak. Examples of such disabilities include dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), aphasia and injuries to the brain.

Dyslexia is more of a reading disability than a learning disability. It affects those individuals who suffer from it by hindering their ability to decipher language components like letters, alphabets and symbols. Dyslexia is squarely centered on the ability of any individual to comprehend written text. People who have dyslexia may have good cognitive and reasoning skills, and the inability to read in no way means that they are intellectually slow.

Dyslexia is a type of reading learning disability that usually begins in the childhood of the individuals who suffer from it. This problem may be mitigated somewhat through repeated practice and other targeted efforts. The reality is that in severe cases of this learning disability, the problem may last for the duration of an individual’s life since the problem has to do with an imbalance in the brain of those who have the condition.


ADD is included as an example of a reading learning disability due to the fact that it affects the ability of an individual to concentrate and learn. This condition causes individuals who have it to be hyperactive to the degree that they find it difficult to settle down for prolonged periods. This deficiency decreases their attention span and as such, impairs their ability to learn.

A brain injury may also be classified as a reading learning disability mainly because traumatic injuries to the head that affect the brain may tamper with the normal functioning of the brain to the point that the individual with some degree of brain damage will not be able to learn or read. Apahsia occurs when something damages the part of the brain that processes language. Many factors can cause this disability, which include a stroke, dementia, a head infection, a brain tumor or a head injury. During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is cut off, and the cells in that part of brain start to die off. This leads to a disability that may impair the ability of the individual to read, comprehend or learn.


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Post 3

When I learned that both Patrick Dempsey and Whoopi Goldberg had dyslexia, I thought I needed to learn more about it and reading learning disabilities.

I noticed the article mentioned that dyslexia is likely to last throughout a person's life secondary to the fact it stems from a brain difference, so that makes it all that more impressive that so many people have succeeded despite this obstacle.

So I hope some people with dyslexia can be inspired by these success stories such as Patrick Dempsey and Whoopi Goldberg (and I think even Thomas Edison had dyslexia)!

Post 2

@alFRedo - An interesting thing that I learned while I was in graduate school is that speech and language therapy overlaps with reading and a speech therapist within a school has a part in some remediation of reading difficulties.

There are a few parts to reading that a speech therapist would be qualified and an expert in to help in is reading comprehension (we not only work with speech disorders but language disorders and language disorders can affect reading comprehension).

We also work with the phonological pieces of reading such as phonemic awareness. I know this because the graduate program I attended actually had quite an emphasis on learning about reading learning disabilities.

Post 1

I work in a school and am not a specialist for reading so I am just learning about reading learning disabilities.

Many of the students I have seen with severe reading difficulties, are tested through a school's special education program, put into a reading program based on the results of the test, and they seem to be making great gains.

However, one of the things I have wondered about, but don't want to ask about is why the student is also going to see a speech therapist...

Most of the students do not seem to have an articulation problem, so it seems they are also going to them for reading help. Any ideas on the connection between the two?

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