While the specific nature of these brain-based disorders is still not well understood, considerable progress has been made in mapping some of the characteristic difficulties of LD to specific brain regions and structures.
Progress has also been made in understanding the interface between genetics and LD, with documentation of LD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related disorders occurring with considerable frequency within members of the same families.
Learning disabilities can be divided into three broad categories with more specific disorders included in each (NCLD, 2015). Specific Learning Disability: A disorder in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations.
Included in this category are expressive writing and expressive language disorders.
The Accommodation and Compliance Series is a starting point in the accommodation process and may not address every situation.
Accommodations should be made on a case by case basis, considering each employee’s individual limitations and accommodation needs.
Dyslexia is the term associated with specific learning disabilities in reading.
Although features of a learning disability in reading vary from person to person, common characteristics include the difficulty with individual sounds in words, and difficulties with word decoding, fluency, rate of reading, rhyming, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension and written expression.
Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities is the term used to describe the characteristics of individuals who have unique learning and behavioral profiles that may overlap with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia but that differ in significant ways.
Most notably, these individuals often have strengths in the areas of verbal expression, vocabulary, reading, comprehension, auditory memory and attention to detail, yet have difficulty with math computation and problem solving, visual-spatial tasks and motor coordination, reading body language and social cues, as well as seeing the “big picture” in social and academic contexts Executive Functioning Deficits is the term used to describe weaknesses in the ability to plan, organize, strategize, remember details and manage time and space efficiently.
Employers are encouraged to contact JAN to discuss specific situations in more detail.
For information on assistive technology and other accommodation ideas, visit JAN's Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) at JAN.org/soar.
Local school districts can help with referrals to qualified professionals who can diagnose a learning disability, universities that have a doctoral psychology program will do testing as part of their training program, and clients of vocational rehabilitation may be evaluated as part of their assessment process.