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Learning Disabilities: Overview

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Learning disabilities affect how a person reads, writes, speaks, and calculates. They are caused by differences in a person’s brain and include several disorders that affect the ability to learn. The NICHD is one of many NIH institutes and other federal agencies investigating the causes of these disabilities (including those that might be genetic and neurological), studying methods for evaluating children who may have the disabilities, and developing strategies to address these issues.

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Common Names

  • Learning disabilities
  • Learning disorders
  • Learning differences
  • Developmental reading disorder
  • Developmental writing disorder
  • Developmental arithmetic disorder

Medical or Scientific Names

  • Dyslexia (pronounced dis-LEK-see-uh)
  • Dysgraphia (pronounced dis-GRAF-ee-uh)
  • Dyscalculia (pronounced dis-kal-KYOO-lee-uh)
  • Dyspraxia (pronounced dis-PRAK-see-uh)
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