What Causes a Learning Disability?

Experts are not exactly sure what causes learning disabilities. They may be due to:

Heredity – Often learning disabilities run in the family, so it’s not uncommon to find that people with learning disabilities have parents or other relatives with similar difficulties.

Problems during pregnancy and birth – Learning Disabilities may be caused by illness or injury during or before birth. They may also be caused by drug and alcohol use during pregnancy, low birth weight, lack of oxygen and premature or prolonged labour.

Incidents after birth – Head injuries, nutritional deprivation and exposure to toxic substances (i.e. lead) can contribute to learning disabilities.

How Does a Learning Disability Affect Life?

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.

Learning disabilities are not caused by economic disadvantage, environmental factors or cultural differences