The term “learning disability” was first introduced in 1963 and refers to brain-based differences that significantly hinder an individual’s ability to acquire, organize, retain, understand or use verbal and non-verbal information. Examples include dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), dyscalculia (math), dyspraxia (movement), auditory processing or other processing disorders, ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder), mild to moderate ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and other executive function challenges.
For some, the term “learning disability” can have negative connotations or stigma suggesting an individual weakness. Outside of medical or academic settings, the common preference now is to use the term “learning difference,” which has the same meaning but recognizes the individualized nature of learning and also allows more space to recognize differences as potential strengths.
At LDS, wherever possible, we use the term “learning difference” to highlight the rich and diverse ways that individuals learn.