Learning disabilities include a broad range of disorders which make it difficult to understand and remember information. The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 15% percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, has some type of learning disability.
Language-based learning disabilities can interfere with listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Dyslexia, the most well-known type of language-based learning disability, interferes with the ability to read and understand printed text. Other types of language-based learning disabilities cause people to have trouble finding the right words to express their thoughts. In some cases, people put words together in an awkward manner that makes it hard for others to understand what they're trying to say. Still other people can express themselves well when they speak, but can't get their thoughts down on paper.
Nonverbal learning disabilities can interfere with visual, spatial, and math skills. People with nonverbal learning disabilities may show confusion about direction (left/right, up/down). They may misalign numbers when doing math problems, or have trouble keeping straight margins when writing. Nonverbal learning disabilities can also interfere with the ability to interpret other people's facial expressions or tone of voice, so people with these types of disabilities often misunderstand jokes and misinterpret what other people say to them.
Many people with learning disabilities have above-average intelligence. This makes their poor performance even more frustrating to themselves and to others.
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