A learning disability if often referred to as an "invisible" disability because it is not immediately apparent. It is important to note that individuals with learning differences are not mentally retarded. They often have average to above average intellectual ability but significant disabilities in performance. The "invisible" disability manifests itself in the way the individual processes and expresses information. Some subjects and skills come easily while others require great concentration and effort on the student's part. Appropriate accommodations do not give students with learning disabilities an unfair advantage, but rather allow them equal opportunity to process and express what they have learned.
Learning disabilities are thought to be due to a central nervous system dysfunction. The term "learning disability" refers to a related group of disorders shown by difficulties in either listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. Some students may have good logical reasoning skills, but completely unable to spell or write a coherent sentence. Educational adjustments and testing alternatives are individually developed for each student.
The most common learning disabilities include:
- Dyslexia-a severe difficulty with reading
- Dyscalculia-a severe difficulty with math
- Dysgraphia-a severe difficulty with written expression
Some very famous people have been identified with a learning disability. Do these names sound familiar? Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Nelson Rockefeller, Cher, Tom Cruise. All of these people were able to overcome their "invisible" disability and lead very productive, successful lives.