October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month!
The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) http://www.ldac-acta.ca/ has named October “Learning Disabilities Awareness Month”. It is a chance to help the public become more aware of learning disabilities which, according to their website, impacts one in ten Canadians with Average or Above Average intelligence. In honour of Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, over the next few blogs we have some answers to frequently asked questions about Learning Disabilities.
What is a Learning Disability? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM5), used by Psychologists to diagnose mental health conditions, calls Learning Disabilities “Specific Learning Disorders” and defines them as, “persistent difficulties learning and using academic skills despite interventions that target those difficulties”. The DSM5 further indicates that the affected academic skills are substantially below the level expected for the individual’s chronological age, and significantly interfere with academic or occupational performance, or with daily living. It also indicates that the difficulties begin in school-age years but may not become manifest until the demands on the skills exceed the individual’s capacity. This means, a child with a Learning Disability may be able to cope through elementary and secondary school, but then struggle when they reach University if the demands become too great! Specific Learning Disorders are divided into subtypes depending on the academic areas impacted (reading, written expression, mathematics) as well as into severity levels depending on how many academic areas are affected.