What is a Learning Disability?

Watch Eaton Arrowsmith on 60 minutes.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) defines learning disabilities as “a number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. As such, learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual deficiency.”

The LDAC adds that “learning disabilities are lifelong.” Eaton Arrowsmith disagrees with this statement. After three to four years of cognitive exercises and hard work, students can strengthen the cognitive weaknesses that cause their disabilities.

Read through the below learning difficulties that EA helps children address to see if our schools are right for your son or daughter.

Types of Learning Disabilities

“Please don’t erase that blackboard yet.”

Motor Symbol Sequencing  

Messy handwriting, miscopying, misreading, irregular spelling, speech rambling, careless written errors in mathematics, and poor written performance.

“I just don’t get it.”

Symbol Relations

Difficulty with reading comprehension, trouble with mathematical reasoning, trouble with logical reasoning, difficulty reading an analog clock, problem understanding cause and effect, reversals of ‘b’ – ‘d’; ‘p’ – ‘q’ (younger students and in more severe cases).

“I have a memory like a sieve.”

Memory for Information or Instructions

Trouble remembering oral instructions, difficulty following lectures or extended conversations, problem acquiring general information through listening.

“My words don’t always come out in the right order.”

Predicative Speech

Problem putting information into one’s own words, speaking in incomplete sentences, difficulty using internal speech to work out consequences, trouble following long sentences, breakdown of steps in mathematical procedures.

“People say I mumble.”

Broca’s Speech Pronunciation

Mispronouncing words, avoiding using words because of uncertainty of pronunciation, limited ability to learn and use phonics, difficulty learning foreign languages, difficulty thinking and talking at the same time, flat and monotone speech with lack of rhythm and intonation.

“I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?”

Auditory Speech Discrimination

Mishearing words and thus misinterpreting information, difficulty understanding someone with an accent, extra effort required to listen to speech.

“Planning was never my strong suit.”

Symbolic Thinking

Problem being self-directed and self-organized in learning, limited mental initiative, difficulty keeping attention relevantly oriented to the demands of a task necessary for completion, difficulty thinking, planning, problem solving, trouble seeing the main point.

“I was never a great reader.”

Symbol Recognition

Poor word recognition, slow reading, difficulty with spelling, trouble remembering symbol patterns such as mathematical or chemical equations.

“I’m not good at remembering the names of things.”

Lexical Memory

Problem with associative memory, trouble following auditory information, trouble learning names of things such as animals, places, people, colours, days of the week.

“I am such a klutz.”

Kinesthetic Perception

Awkward body movements, bumping into objects due to not knowing where body is in space relative to objects, uneven handwriting with variable pressure.

“I slur my words sometimes.”

Kinesthetic Speech

Lack of a clear articulation of speech, some speech slurring.

“I’m just not good at reading people.”

Artifactual Thinking

Problem interpreting non-verbal information such as body language, facial expression and voice tone, weak social skills, difficulty perceiving and interpreting one’s own emotions, difficulty thinking, planning, problem solving non-verbally.

“My eyes hurt when I read.”

Narrow Visual Span

Slow, jerky reading with errors, eyes fatigue when reading, problem navigating in the dark.”

“Have we met?”

Object Recognition

Trouble finding objects, problem remembering visual cues such as landmarks, difficulty remembering faces and recalling the visual details of pictures.

“I am forever getting lost.”

Spatial Reasoning

Frequently getting lost, losing objects, messy and disorganized workspace, trouble constructing geometric figures.

“I’m not handy.”

Mechanical Reasoning

Difficulty understanding the mechanical properties of objects, problems constructing or repairing machinery such as taking apart and putting together a bicycle or repairing a car.

“I couldn’t program the PVR to save my life.”

Abstract Reasoning

Trouble understanding the proper sequence of steps in a task such as sewing, cooking or computer programming.

“My reaction time is a bit slow.”

Primary Motor

Poor muscle tone, which results in some degree of awkwardness and slowness of body movement.

“I’m not a numbers person.”

Quantification Sense

Finger counting, trouble retaining numbers in one’s head, difficulty making change, problem learning math facts, poor sense of time management, difficulty with time signature in music.

The Arrowsmith Program came into my life in about 2004 and, at that time, we were looking at learning disabilities as lifelong," said Howard Eaton, director of EA. "Since the adoption of the Arrowsmith Program by myself in Vancouver, I’ve learned that children with learning disabilities can significantly change their lives.
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News & Events
May 16, 2017

On May 15th 2017  Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver cognitive and academic staff members came together, along with some of our alumni parents and students for our first ever round table discussion about life before, during and especially after Eaton Arrowsmith! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the transition to and…  Read More »

May 9, 2017

Join us online via our YouTube channel for our first ever round table discussion with current Eaton Arrowsmith cognitive and academic teachers, EA alumni students and their parents as we discuss life before,during and especially after Eaton Arrowsmith! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the transition to…  Read More »