Learning Disabilities Discussed

Learning Disabilities Discussed

Students with learning disabilities often struggle to develop learning strategies to assist them during their school career.

In addition to learning disabilities, these students may suffer from attention and memorization deficits.

Learning disabilities are diagnosed based off a disorder in one or more psychological processes. Unlike many other disabilities, learning disabilities are invisible to the eye; these students are seemingly developing normally and are often able to perform at grade level for specific subjects and below grade level for others.

Additionally, teachers need to take into consideration attention deficits, memorization deficits, and how language, motor skills, and visual perception play a roll in the development of learning disabilities.

Learning Disabilities Discussed;


Typically, learning disabilities are thought of only in terms of academic discrepancies. However, many children with learning disabilities display deficits in many other areas, such as;

  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Language
  • Motor Skills
  • Perpetual Abilities

Characteristically, these students may mask their disabilities and need more support then requested from parents or teachers. They may also be overly confident in their abilities and pretend to have strategies when they actually do not.

It is important to note that not all students have the same deficits and strengths.

Attention Deficits

Attention deficits play a significant role in the manifestation of learning disabilities.

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Attention is an essential skill to have and develop over time in order to be successful in the classroom. Children need to be able to sustain, direct and initiate their attention according to the demands of the lessons and assignments. An attention deficit can create problems in all domains of learning.

Not surprisingly, an attention deficit has a direct link to learning disabilities; these students are not engaged in their learning and therefore have less information to commit to their memory and will then have less knowledge and tools to use when attempting to participate, answer questions, or follow directions. Each time a student’s attention is not engaged and maintained, an opportunity to learn is lost.

Memory Deficits

Memory is a process that begins developing as soon as a child is born. They are able to recognize sounds and their caregivers. The information that they store will assist them throughout their lives.

Memorization is an active process that takes practice in order for information to be stored permanently.

There are three domains of memory,

  • Short-Term Memory
  • Working Memory
  • Long-Term Memory

Short-term memory typically lasts only twenty-five seconds. In order for that information to be understood, it must be meaningful in some way.

That information needs to be transferred into working memory. The more a child can relate new learning to prior knowledge the more likely it is that the information will be stored in long-term memory. Some children have memory deficits that prevent them from retaining learned information.

Also, they may also have a hard time repeating information, following multiple step directions, or performing tasks in the correct sequence.

Recalling and Recognition

Recalling and recognition begin to develop over the first two years of a child’s life. They may be able to recognize familiar objects, people, and pictures.

Prior to a child’s first birthday, they are able to recall a thought, like remembering where they placed a toy. These processes improve, as a child grows older.


Our prior knowledge has a great deal of influence on new information received.

In addition, prior knowledge will influence what a person pays attention to and how they store and retrieve that information.

According to Tom E. Smith, from the University Of Arkansas, “We continually alter new knowledge to which we are exposed by changing its meaning, embellishing, fitting it to previous knowledge, rehearsing some but not other aspects, and reorganizing it.”

As we gain new knowledge, we change it to fit what we already know. The more critical knowledge is to an individual, the more likely it is that that information will be stored to memory.

One important aspect of knowledge is categorization. When a child is able to categorize, they are able to condense information when they are trying to explain it.

Furthermore, knowledge may be better acquired when they are able to link new knowledge to a category they have already created.

Individualized instruction such as Special Needs Tutoring can help children dramatically improve their memory skills.

What are your thoughts on learning disabilities and memory? Please comment below!


Picture of Laura Young, M.Ed.

Laura Young, M.Ed.

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