What Causes a Learning Disability?

Learning DifficultySome learning disabilities appear to be passed down from generation to generation. Occasionally certain medical conditions such as neurological illnesses, or chronic childhood ear infections may also alter the neurological development or structure of the brain as well, creating a learning disability.

Environmental factors such as cultural deprivation or parenting and teaching styles may heighten the impact of a neurological deficit, but they are not the cause.

The Effect of a Learning Disability

A learning disability involves the foundational perceptual and thinking skills that allow us to operate in life. Thus, just as a sore or injured muscle will cause difficulty wherever that muscle is required for physical movement, so a learning disability will affect a person’s life wherever that skill is required.

For example, a person who has difficulty keeping things in a sequence may have trouble keeping in order words and letters in reading, spelling, and writing, keeping numbers in order in math, keeping track of a class schedule, completing long-range assignments such as a term paper and following directions.  A memory deficit can cause problems with taking notes in class, remembering homework assignments, spelling or vocabulary, recalling information studied for tests, remembering basic math facts, phone numbers, addresses, locker combinations, people’s names, appointments, etc.