According to American Psychiatric Association (2020), specific learning disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is evident during school-age, nevertheless, it may not be recognized until adulthood. This disorder affects the basic person’s ability to learning areas including reading, writing and math. Among others, predisposing factors include Prenatal, Perinatal, Postnatal, and environmental influences (Moll et al., 2014).

According to Sadock et al., (2014), left brain platinum temporal demonstrate less asymmetry than the right brain platinum temporal in children with language and specific learning disorders such as reading impairment. These individuals have chromosome 1,2,3,6,15, and 18 disabilities that are related to decoding sounds (Eissa, 2018). On the other hand, math disabilities are connected to neurological deficit in the right cerebral hemisphere more especially occipital lobe areas that are related to multifactorial deficiencies including genetic contribution, maturational, cognitive, emotional as well as social economic factors (Sadock et al., 2014). Impairment in writing expression emanates from combine effects of language and reading disorders. Most persons with this disability have first-degree relations with similar difficulties making it a hereditary predisposition disorder. Children with this disability include those with limited attention spans as well as those with high levels of distractibility (Eissa, 2018).

Predisposing influences such as prenatal factors include inborn errors such as brain malformations and maternal disease while perinatal factors include labor and delivery-related events leading to neonatal encephalopathy. On the other hand, hypoxic ischemic injury, traumatic brain injury, infections, demyelinating and seizure disorders as well as alcohol, other drugs, toxins, teratogens are among other postnatal and environmental factors respectively (Moll et al., 2014).

Early signs and symptoms of specific learning disorder

Specific learning disorder (SLD) is possibly the most widely recognized neurodevelopmental messes that 3%–10% of youngsters (Al-Yagon & Margalit, 2017).   Learning inabilities allude to progressing issues in one of three zones, perusing, composing, and math, fundamental to one’s capacity to learn.  Basic learning incapacities incorporate dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and hear-able and visual handling handicaps (Raines, 2019).

  • Preschool
  • Late talking, contrasted with different kids
  • Pronunciation issues
  • Slow jargon development
  • Difficulty rhyming words
  • frequently incapable of locating the correct word.
  • Inadequate capacity to follow headings or schedules.
  • Trouble learning numbers, the letter set, days of the week.
  • Trouble associating with peers.
  • Too eager and quickly flustered.
  • Insufficient ability to follow rubrics or schedules.

Kindergarten through fourth grade

  • Slow to get familiar with the association among letters and sounds.
  • Slow review of realities
  • Makes steady perusing and spelling blunders including letter inversions (p/q), reversals (m/w), renderings (felt/left), and replacements (house/home)
  • Confuses essential words (run, eat, need)
  • Transposes number arrangements and befuddles number-crunching signs (+, – , x,/, =)
  • Slow review of realities
  • Slow to learn new abilities, depends intensely on retention.
  • Impulsiveness, absence of arranging.
  • Unstable pencil grasp
  • Trouble finding out about the time.

Specific Learning Disorder Diagnosis

A diagnosis is made based on a clinical review of a patient’s history, teacher reports and academic records, and responses to interventions. According to DSM-5, the diagnosis of a specific learning disorder includes the following symptoms:

  • Persistent difficulties in reading, writing, arithmetic, or mathematical reasoning skills during formal years of education.
  • Current academic skills must be well below the average range of scores in culturally and linguistically appropriate tests of reading, writing, or mathematics.
  • Learning difficulties started during the school-age years.
  • The individual’s difficulties must not be better explained by developmental, neurological, sensory, or motor disorders and must significantly interfere with academic achievement, occupational performance, or activities of daily living (National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2015).


There is no cure for specific learning disorder, but early intervention can lessen their effects throughout one’s life. Special education services can assist children with learning disabilities improve reading, writing and math. It often involves multimodal teaching – involving multiple senses.

Studies show that the most effective treatments for reading disorder are structured, targeted strategies that address phonological awareness, decoding skills, comprehension, and fluency.

Treatments for writing problems are in two general areas: the process of writing and the process of composing written expression. The students also benefit from accommodations like additional time on tests and written assignments, using computers for typing instead of writing by hand and smaller class size.

Successful interventions, techniques and accommodations for a child may vary over time as the child improves and academic expectations change (The American Psychiatric Association, 2020).


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

American Psychiatric Association (APA), (2020). Retrieved January 9, 2021 from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/specific-learning-disorder/what-is-specific-learning-disorder

Al-Yagon, M., & Margalit, M. (2017). Hope and coping in individuals with specific learning disorder. Oxford Handbooks Online. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399314.013.29

Eissa, M. A. (2018). Issues Related to Identification of Children with Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs): Insights into DSM-5. International Journal of Psycho-Educational Sciences, 7(1), 106-111.

Moll K, Kunze S, Neuhoff N, Bruder J, Schulte-Körne G (2014) Specific Learning Disorder: Prevalence and Gender Differences. PLoS ONE 9(7): e103537. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0103537

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2015).Clinical Characteristics of Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK332886/

Raines, J. C. (2019). Specific learning disorder. Evidence-Based Practice in School Mental Health, 131-175. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190886578.003.0004

Specific learning disabilities (SLD). (2017). Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology, 269-314. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315660271-10

The American Psychiatric Association. (2018).What is specific learning disorder? Retrieved from: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/specific-learning-disorder/what-is-specific-learning-disorder

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