Specific Learning Disorder: What Is It?

A specific learning disorder can affect a child’s ability to acquire and apply reading, writing, and math skills. A learning disorder is distinct from intellectual development disorder; children with learning disorders usually have at least average intelligence but are still not able to acquire academic skills expected for their age, intellectual ability, experience, and education. A child may have impairment in decoding words, understanding the meaning of what is read, spelling, expressing himself in writing, doing calculations, and mastering mathematical reasoning. Specific learning disorder is a relatively new classification that groups together reading-related (dyslexia) and math-related (dyscalculia) disorders under a single umbrella. But when a child is diagnosed with specific learning disorder, the particular areas of impairment must also be designated in the diagnostic statement.