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Introduction to Specific Learning Disorder

Learning Disorders

The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders released in 2013 made changes to the Learning Disorders category. Prior to this edition, there were 3 separate disorders including Reading Disorder, Mathematics Disorder, and Disorder of Written Expression.

Now, there is a single disorder, Specific Learning Disorder, which has multiple academic areas (reading, written expression, and mathematics) and then skills within each of those areas that can be impaired. There are also 3 levels of severity that can be diagnosed which guide the amount of assistance that will be needed to allow the student to compensate or function well within that area.

It is important to remember that, regardless of the name of the learning disorder, it is a true clinical disorder that is likely founded in abnormal brain development. These are not just labels given to excuse poor performance in otherwise normal students. There are actual issues with the way th...More

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