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NINDS Learning Disabilities Information Page


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What are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disabilities are disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually not recognized until the child reaches school age. Research shows that 8 to 10 percent of American children under 18 years of age have some type of learning disability.

Is there any treatment?

The most common treatment for learning disabilities is special education. Specially trained educators may perform a diagnostic educational evaluation assessing the child's academic and intellectual potential and level of academic performance. Once the evaluation is complete, the basic approach is to teach learning skills by building on the child's abilities and strengths while correcting and compensating for disabilities and weaknesses. Other professionals such as speech and language therapists also may be involved. Some medications may be effective in helping the child learn by enhancing attention and concentration. Psychological therapies may also be used.

What is the prognosis?

Learning disabilities can be lifelong conditions. In some people, several overlapping learning disabilities may be apparent. Other people may have a single, isolated learning problem that has little impact on their lives.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support research learning disabilities through grants to major research institutions across the country. Current research avenues focus on developing techniques to diagnose and treat learning disabilities and increase understanding of their biological basis.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Learning Disabilities Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
CHADD - Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
8181 Professional Place
Suite 150
Landover, MD   20785
ruth_hughes@chadd.org
http://www.chadd.org
Tel: 301-306-7070 800-233-4050
Fax: 301-306-7090

International Dyslexia Association
40 York Road
4th Floor
Baltimore, MD   21204
info@interdys.org
http://www.interdys.org
Tel: 410-296-0232 800-ABCD123
Fax: 410-321-5069

Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Suite 1
Pittsburgh, PA   15234-1349
info@ldaamerica.org
http://www.ldaamerica.org
Tel: 412-341-1515
Fax: 412-344-0224

National Center for Learning Disabilities
381 Park Avenue South
Suite 1401
New York, NY   10016
ncld@ncld.org
http://www.ld.org
Tel: 212-545-7510 888-575-7373
Fax: 212-545-9665

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD   20892-2425
http://www.nichd.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-5133
Fax: 301-496-7101

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD   20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279

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Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated February 14, 2014