Learning Disabilities

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia

What is a Learning Disability?

A Learning Disability is the more general term that describes a neurologically-based processing problem that interferes with reading, writing, and/or math. a learning disability can cause individuals with average or above average intelligence to perform poorly in their academics because they learn at different pace and not as traditional as other students in the classroom. There is no "cure" for a learning disability, but with early intervention and the right resources, children can be high achievers and successful throughout their lifetime.

  • Dyslexia- primarily refers to problems with reading, but can also affect writing, spelling, and even speaking.
  • Dysgraphia- affects the ability to write.
  • Dyscalculia- trouble with numbers and math concepts.

1 out of every 5 people in the united States has a learning disability

My world without numbers | Line Rothmann | TEDxVennelystBlvd

Major Characteristics of Learning Disabilities:

  • There is a discrepancy between oral and written work.
  • Works at a slower pace than his/her peers.
  • Unable to keep focus and concentration.
  • difficulty with memorization.
  • Difficulty following oral directions, especially instruction with multiple steps.
  • The student has little confidence.
  • Low self-esteem and self confidence with his/her work.
  • high intelligence and understanding but difficulty putting it into organized writing.

*It is important to remember that these common characteristics do not just interfere with academics and the students ability to learn in the classroom, but can also interfere with interacting socially with family or peers.

Instructional Strategies

Students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscaluclia face many challenges in the classroom when learning to read, write and do mathematics. These students struggle with fluency, comprehension, and organization. Below are three data-based practices and specialized strategies to help students with learning disabilities succeed in their academics. students with learning disabilities need more oppertunties to practice news skills than their peers.

  • Scaffolding- Teachers will give appropriate support to the student and gradually give less support until the student is able to complete a task independently. Instructors and classrooms that use this practice view themselves and other materials as "mediators" to the students learning abilities. Scaffolding includes teacher support, feedback, and using instructional materials such as visual aids to facilitate reading.
  • PQ4R method- Preview the material, question the material, read the material, reflect on the material, recite the material, and review the material. This is most often done with reading comprehension and has been shown to be an effective technique in helping students with a learning disability retain and organize the information from the text.
  • Reciprocal teaching- Both the teacher and student read similar materials and then come together and talk about the text. The teacher first leads discussion by demonstrating strategies such as asking questions and summarizing the text. The student then leads discussion and demonstrates the same techniques used by the instructor. Guided practice is given until the student has reached a higher level of reading comprehension and the goal of being able to take meaning away from text.

Calculators, audio recordings, and specialized paper are just a classroom materials that can accommodate students with dyscalculia, dyslexia, and dysgraphia in order for them to be successful and confident in their ability to complete a task.

Additional Resources and Data-based Instructional Strategies and Accommodations-

Home-based Strategies

Strategies & Accommodations for the Home to Generalize Classroom Support

School isn't the only place where your child can work on skills related to his or her learning disability. Fun and encouraging activities can be done at home to practice reading, writing, and math.

  • For Dyslexia-
  1. Outline and Summary
  2. Repetition

  • For Dyscalculia-
  1. Math games

  • For Dysgraphia-
  1. Alternate endings
  2. Key and common vocabulary words
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Website Resources

http://teachingld.org- Information and resources for teaching students with learning disabilities (for teachers & instructors).

http://ldaamerica.org/parents/- great website for parents who need resources and answers to their questions on learning disorders (for parents).


A Child’s Story (2015). Trouble with letters. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/tools/through-your-childs-eyes/player?simq=c07181bd-05a5-466c-aaa0-f54146a9d844&gradeId=d6b26d19-313c-49d9-8594-912c0e5be6a3&standalone=true.

Fletcher-Flinn, C. M. (2016). Developmental Dysgraphia as a Reading System and Transfer Problem: A Case Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 1-10.

Gonsalves, N., & Krawec, J. (2014). Using number lines to solve math word problems: A strategy for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice (Wiley-Blackwell), 29(4), 160-170.

Joseph, L. (2010). Best practices in planning interventions for students with learning disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/best-practices-planning-interventions-students-reading-problems.

Stein, M. T., & Lounsbury, B. (2004). A child with a learning disability: navigating school-based services. Pediatrics, 1141432.

Ted Talks (2015, Jun 11). My world without numbers. Retrieved from


Zebron, S., Mhute, I., & Musingafi, M. C. (2015). Classroom challenges: working with pupils with communication disorders. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(9), 18-22.

Zirkel, P. A. (2001). Courtside - Sorting out which students have learning disabilities. Phi Delta Kappan, (8).