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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)
Last Reviewed: 02/28/2014
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology