Learning Disability

By Dr Evelyn Lewin

A learning disability causes children to have difficulty understanding or processing information, remembering information or expressing themselves. According to Learning Difficulties Australia, approximately 4% of Australian students have a learning disability. There are many different types of learning disabilities, ranging from mild to severe. The most common form of learning disability affects reading and spelling. Having a learning disability does not mean your child is not intelligent. Also, problems with learning do not necessarily mean your child has a learning disability. To date there has been no definitive cause found for learning disability.


A learning disability can affect different areas of learning. For example, it may relate to language (dyslexia). Children with dyslexia can confuse different letters, and may have problems reading and writing. Other learning disabilities may relate to:

  1. Mathematical skills (dyscalculia).
  2. Fine motor skills (dyspraxia). Children with dyspraxia may struggle with tasks such as using scissors, or drawing.
  3. Difficulty with written expression (dysgraphia). This is noted when observing the child’s handwriting.
A child may have a learning disability that affects only one area of learning, or they may have more than one learning disability.


The first step towards treatment is identifying that your child has a learning disability. If you are concerned about your child, speak to her teacher to gain further insight and information.

You can also observe the way your child learns at home.

Identifying the problem early, and seeking appropriate qualified support early, can lead to better outcomes.

Diagnosis of a learning disability requires formal assessment by a qualified psychologist using standardised psychological tests.

According to the Australian Psychological Society, these tests compare a person’s level of ability to that which is considered normal development for someone of that age and intelligence.

Treatment of a learning disability involves input by psychologists, as well as possibly special educators, speech pathologists and other health professionals.

Reviewed by Dr Evelyn Lewin 25 February 2015 references
  • current version


  • document id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

LEAVE A COMMENT 0 comments