Learning Disabilities

Written Expression, Math, and Reading

What are learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities have an impact on the way a student remembers information and how they are able to respond to new information. Children and adults with learning disabilities may have issues with:


  • Paying attention
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math


A reading disability, also know as dyslexia, is not caused by a vision issue nor are the students unintelligent. Many students who are dyslexic are at a normal or above-normal intelligence level. Individuals with dyslexia may show the following symptoms:


  • Difficulty rhyming and separating sounds, making reading difficult;
  • Difficulty deciphering the true meaning of a sentence;
  • Trouble connecting sounds of language to the written letter.


A mathematical disability, also known as dyscalculia, comes in the form of the student being farther behind in their mathematical ability that normal of their age and grade. Basic math, like adding and subtracting, may be more difficult for a student with mathematical disability. If a child has a mathematical disability, you may notice:


  • Trouble reading, writing, and copying numbers;
  • Issues counting and adding numbers;
  • Being unsure whether to add or subtract;
  • Confusion with math symbols and word problems;
  • Inability to perform basic math tasks.


A written expression disability, alternatively known as dysgraphia, involves a child having writing skills that are below average. If a child has a written expression disability, they may show the following symptoms:


  • Errors in punctuation and grammar;
  • Poor handwriting, spelling, and writing organization.


It is important for all persons in the classroom and out that learning disabilities vary by the individual. Which they may be blanketed by one common term, their symptoms, learning styles and preferences will differ by each individual case. Also, some children may only have one learning disability while others may have multiple. Regardless of their situation they can learn and you can teach them!

What can you do in the classroom?

Many students who have a learning disability do not let the disability get the best of them. They are intelligent students who want to learn and they can do many things they put their minds to. Teachers can make accommodations in their curriculum to incorporate students with learning disabilities. No matter what learning disability a student has, teachers can do the following to increase learning for their students:


  • Break assignments and tasks into smaller steps;
  • Make sure that instructions are given in verbal and written form;
  • Give additional time for tests and homework.

There are many things that teachers can do to help their students with learning disabilities inside and out of the classroom. Here are a few examples for written expression, mathematical, and reading learning disabilities.


Written expression disability:


  • Allow students to begin writing assignments before other students;
  • Provide students paper with their name, date, and title already filled in;
  • Provide an outline for taking notes;
  • Have another student take notes for them;
  • Help student break down assignment into smaller steps;
  • Provide a rubric for grading;
  • Have students try out different pens or pencils to find what works best for them.


Mathematical disability:


  • Let student talk about how to solve a problem;
  • Give student list of math formulas taught in class;
  • Highlight/circle key words and numbers on word problems;
  • Allow students to use a calculator when not being tested on computation;
  • Break down worksheets into sections.


Reading disability:


  • Provide a color strip for reading;
  • Give student an audiobook copy to listen to while reading;
  • Have notes for the lesson to fill in or follow along;
  • Allow understanding to be shown in different ways;
  • Have student read out loud daily.


There are many more strategies teachers can use in the classroom but these are just a few to get you started!

Want more information on learning disabilities?

There is a great deal of resources available online for students, parents, and teachers to learn about learning disabilities. Here are a few now to get your journey started!


Disorder of written expression: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2016, May 03). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001543.htm


Learning Disabilities (LD) | Center for Parent Information and Resources. (2015, July). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/ld/


Morin, A. (2014, April 29). At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Dysgraphia. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/at-a-glance-classroom-accommodations-for-dysgraphia


Morin, A. (2014, April 25). At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Dyscalculia. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/at-a-glance-classroom-accommodations-for-dyscalculia


Morin, A. (2014, April 22). At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexia. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/at-a-glance-classroom-accommodations-for-dyslexia