Only 5% of American children learn to read without effort. Another 20% to 30% learn to read with relative ease once exposed to formal instruction. That leaves 60% for whom learning to read is a major challenge. For twenty to thirty percent of those, reading is one of the most difficult tasks they will have to master throughout their education. The ability to read provides the foundation for all school-based learning; without it, the chances for academic and professional success are significantly limited.
- Approximately 15% of the population has a learning disability. In an average-size classroom this means approximately 3-4 children.
- People with learning disabilities are generally of average or above average intelligence, but their learning disabilities result in an unexpected gap between their potential and their performance in some academic areas.
- A learning disability is caused by differences in brain structure or brain functioning and leads to difficulties with specific types of learning. A learning disability interferes with the ability to process, store, or produce information.
- A learning disability can affect the ability to read, write, speak, or do math. It should not be confused with mental retardation, autism, deafness, blindness, or behavioral disorders.
- Early identification of children with a learning disability makes a critical difference in their remediation.
- 35% of students with learning disabilities drop out of high school because of long-term difficulties in school.
- Students who do not receive appropriate intervention and support may experience loss of self-esteem and anxiety.
- There are several types of learning disabilities that affect achievement in different areas, such as: oral language, reading, spelling and writing, math and motor planning.
- Some individuals with learning disabilities also have co-existing disorders, such as attention deficit disorder, and difficulties with social interactions.
- Dyslexia is life-long and often occurs in families.