What Causes Learning Disabilities?

Find out six reasons why a child might have a learning disability.

Click on an item in the set below to see more info.

Many Factors May Play a Part

Most of the time, the cause of a child's learning disability is not known. Learning disabilities can come about from a combination of factors. Check out the possible causes of learning difficulties.

1. Glitch in Brain Processing

The brain is an organ of mystery that we are still learning about. Many professionals believe that learning disabilities are a result of minor dysfunctions in how the brain processes information. People with learning disabilities may have a slightly different brain structure than people without learning difficulties. Research is being done to better learn which neurobiological factors are connected with learning disabilities.

2. It's All in the Genes

Heredity plays a large part in the abilities we are given. Children who have family members with ADHD or reading disabilities are more likely to also have ADHD or reading difficulties. Research shows that dyslexia has strong genetic links. Remember: Genes do not necessarily limit one's potential, but they rather provide a foundation from which one can work to grow.

3. Biochemical Imbalance

Learning problems can be attributed to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain and the body. For example, students who tend to act hyperactive do not have enough stimulation in their brains. They therefore compensate by outwardly acting out.

4. Quality of Living

Families are less likely to focus on educational enrichment if they are fearing for their safety or wondering how they will put food on the table. Children who are fed nutritious foods, given quality medical care, and raised in emotionally healthy environments are more likely to reach their full potential than children who are malnourished, deprived of vaccines, or abused.

5. Exposure to Knowledge

During the first 5 years of life children have a heightened ability to soak up knowledge. A toddler exposed to piano playing can develop talents for music. Exposure to books, quality conversation, and new experiences during these critical years open up children's minds for further growth. Likewise, children deprived of conversation, books, and varied experiences may lack the seeds needed for future learning to sprout.

6. Poor Instruction

Children cannot learn if they have not been properly taught. Quality schools and excellent teachers count. Oftentimes children who have received low-quality schooling are misdiagnosed with learning disabilities. These students can benefit from direct, intensive, systematic-instruction. Processing difficulties should not be confused with never learning the thinking skills or information in the first place.

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