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Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are disorders of the basic processes involved in understanding or using the spoken or written language. They can cause difficulty with listening, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, or doing math calculations.

Learning disabilities are distinct from learning difficulties that are a result of visual, motor, or hearing problems, or that are associated with intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Learning disabilities may be caused by:

  • Heredity. Learning disabilities tend to run in families.
  • Problems during pregnancy and childbirth. Learning disabilities may be caused by illness or injury during or before birth or by the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Incidents after birth. Head injuries, poor nutrition, exposure to poisonous substances such as lead, and child abuse can contribute to learning disabilities.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerThomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last RevisedApril 12, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.