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Fact Sheet: Learning Disabilities

Definition of Learning Disabilities

A disorder in one or more of the basic processes involved in understanding or using spoken or written language, that impacts an individuals ability of in one of the following areas:

Learning disabilities include such conditions as:

Learning disabilities do not include learning problems that are primarily the result of:


Estimates of the number of individuals with learning disabilities vary greatly, ranging from 1% to 30% of the general population. (Differences in estimates may reflect variations in the definition used.) In 1987, the Interagency Committee on Learning Disabilities concluded that 5% to 10% is a reasonable estimate of the percentage of people affected by learning disabilities.


It is important to remember that there is a high degree of interrelationship and overlapping among areas of learning. Individuals with learning disabilities may exhibit a combination of characteristics.

The following may also be associated with learning disabilities:

A variety of other symptoms may be present, including:

Vocational and Employment Issues

The label learning disabilities is all-embracing; it describes a syndrome, not a specific individual with specific problems. Therefore, assisting an individual with a learning disability to obtain employment requires a very personalized approach that takes into account an individuals strengths and support needs. An individuals learning disability may mildly, moderately, or severely impair the learning process.

Guidelines for Working with Individuals with Learning Disabilities

C.H.A.D.D. (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders)

8181 Professional Place; Suite 201
Landover, MD 20785
Voice: (301) 306-7070; (800) 233-4050
Fax: (301) 306-7090

Provides resources involving support, education, and advocacy for persons with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder.

Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD)

P.O. Box 40303
Overland Park, KS 66204
Voice: (913) 492-8755
Fax: (913) 492-2546

International organization of interdisciplinary professionals, that focuses on promoting innovative strategies for research and practice on behalf of individuals with learning disabilities.

Division for Learning Disabilities

Council for Exceptional Children
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191-1589
Voice: (888) 232-7733; (703) 620-3660
TTY: (703) 264-9446
Fax: (703) 264-9494
Web site:

International professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes. The DLD promotes improved services, research, and legislation for individuals with learning disabilities.

International Dyslexia Association

International Office
8600 LaSalle Road
Chester Building, Suite 382
Baltimore, MD 21286-2044
Voice: (800) 222-3123; (410) 296-0232
Fax: (410) 321-5069
Web site:

Scientific and educational organization providing general information on dyslexia as well as services, research, technology, policy, training, and other resources. Web site includes an active bulletin board.

Learning Disabilities Association of America

4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
Voice: (412) 341-1515
Fax: (412) 344-0224
Web site:

A listing of state affiliates is available at:

Membership organization that provides information, resources, event updates, and advocacy efforts pertaining to the enhancement of quality of life for individuals with learning disabilities and their families.

National Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)

1788 Second Street, Suite 200
Highland Park, IL 60035
Voice: (847) 432-ADDA
Fax: (847) 432-5874
Web site:

National membership organization which provides information and referral on Attention Deficit Disorder.

National Center for Learning Disabilities

381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
Voice: (212) 545-7510; (888) 575-7373
Fax: (212) 545-9665
Web site:

Provides national information & referral, educational programs, public outreach, legislative advocacy, publications and resources in support of persons with learning disabilities.

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

The Anne T. MacDonald Center
20 Roszel Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Voice: (800) 221-4792; (609) 452-0606
Web site:

This organization maintains an over 77,000-title library of taped textbooks, reference and professional materials for people who cannot read standard print because of a disability. Materials are inexpensive.

Adapted from NICHCY Fact Sheet Number 7(FS4), 1998

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities

P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013
1-800-695-0285 (Voice/TT)

This fact sheet is made possible through Cooperative Agreement #H030A30003 between the Academy for Educational Development and the Office of Special Education Programs. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U. S. Government.

This information is in the public domain unless otherwise indicated. Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY).

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