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Glossary: Learning Disabilities

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This is also called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). People with this disorder have severe difficulty in focusing and maintaining attention. They display characteristics of inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. This disorder often leads to learning and behavior problems at home and at school.

Auditory discrimination. People with this disorder have difficulty perceiving differences between speech sounds and sequencing these sounds into meaningful words.

Developmental aphasia. This is a severe language disorder. It is thought to be due to a brain injury rather than a developmental delay in the normal acquisition of language.

Dyscalculia. People with this disorder have severe difficulty in understanding and using functions or symbols needed for success in mathematics.

Dysgraphia. People with this disorder have difficulty with handwriting. Their writing is usually not legible and not written at an age-appropriate speed. Problems might be seen in the motor patterns used during writing, as well as difficulties with spelling and written composition.

Dyslexia. This is difficulty with language processing and its impact on reading, writing, and spelling.

Dysnomia. People with this disorder have difficulty remembering names or recalling words.

Dyspraxia. This is a severe difficulty in performing tasks requiring fine motor skills such as drawing or writing.

Perceptual handicap. This is difficulty in processing, organizing, and discriminating among visual, auditory, or tactile information.

Specific language disability. People with this disorder have severe difficulty in some aspect of listening, speaking, reading, writing, or spelling. Their skills in other areas are age-appropriate.

Specific learning disability. This term is synonymous with learning disabilities. It is the official term used in federal legislation to refer to difficulty in certain areas of learning compared to difficulty in all areas of learning.

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