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Learning Disabilities Characteristics

What are some of the common characteristics of LD?

The following is a list of common characteristics of an LD student. Conditions must be persistent over a long period of time. Presence of these conditions does not necessarily mean a person is learning disabled.

Reading Skills

  • Poor decoding skills
  • Poor reading fluency
  • Slow reading rate
  • Lack of self-monitoring reading skills
  • Poor comprehension and/or retention
  • Difficulty identifying important ideas in context
  • Extreme difficulty building ideas and images
  • Difficulty integrating new ideas to existing knowledge
  • Weak vocabulary skills
  • Extreme difficulty understanding words or grammar
  • Difficulty recognizing high frequency words
  • Oral comprehension is noticeably stronger than reading comprehension
  • Extreme difficulty focusing attention on the printed marks
  • Difficulty controlling eye movements across the page
  • Wavy or shimmering pages not attributable to poor vision

Spelling Skills

  • Phonological awareness is noticeably stronger than spelling ability
  • Frequent spelling errors of high frequency words
  • Extreme difficulty with homonyms and/or regular spelling patterns
  • No understanding of the relationship of phonics to written language 
  • No understanding of common spelling rules
  • Inadequate understanding of phonics even with instruction

Written Expression Skills

  • Poor writing fluency
  • Unable to compose complete, grammatical sentences
  • Difficulty organizing written information
  • Poor  handwriting
  • Extremely poor alignment
  • Inability to take notes or copy information from a book or the board
  • Oral expression is noticeably stronger than written expression
  • Extremely weak proofreading skills

Oral Language Skills

  • Inability to hear small differences between sounds, not attributable to a hearing loss, particularly vowel sounds
  • Difficulty articulating thoughts or ideas orally
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Inability to blend sounds together to form words
  • Difficulty listening and responding to a series of directions
  • Disorganized recall of facts or details

Mathematical Skills

  • Poor mathematical fluency
  • Difficulty memorizing multiplication tables
  • Difficulty identifying multiples and/or factors
  • Poor basic calculation skills
  • Difficulty understanding word or application problems
  • Poor understanding of mathematical concepts
  • Difficulty sorting out irrelevant information
  • Lower visual perceptual and visual-spatial ability
  • Inability to transfer basic mathematical concepts to solve problems with unpredictable information
  • Inability to use basic facts within more complex calculations

Memory Skills

  • Extremely weak ability to store and retrieve information efficiently
  • Extremely weak ability to hold information for immediate use

Reasoning Skills

  • Extremely weak ability to solve problems, particularly when information or procedure is unfamiliar
  • Extreme difficulty recognizing, transforming, or using specific information to reach general conclusions