Understanding Learning Disabilities and Celebrating Them, Too!

We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to learn about disabilities that affect so many children and their ability to reach their full potential. Awareness is the first step to understanding differences that children struggle with, differences that you can’t see, which makes it difficult to understand, tolerate, and even celebrate. Every child is unique, with their own strengths, interests, and learning styles. However, some children may have learning differences that require additional attention and support.

Learning disabilities encompass a range of conditions, such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and auditory or visual processing disorders. These types of disabilities are not visible like a physical disability, so too often the child is considered a behavior problem, lazy, or unmotivated. Without help for a learning disability, a child falls behind in school, feels insecure, develops low self-esteem, and will eventually act out or withdraw. It is important for parents, educators, and society as a whole to recognize and accommodate these differences. To ensure that every child has an opportunity to succeed academically and socially, we need to understand the signs, behaviors, and options for help and intervention. Awareness and knowledge are critical to getting these children the support they need to realize success.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 2.5 million students have dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia and approximately 6 million students have ADHD. Often a student has several or more of these disabilities.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting), and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur at the moment without thought). An estimated 8.4% of children have ADHD (Danielson, 2018; Simon, et al., 2009). ADHD is often first identified in school-aged children when it leads to disruption in the classroom or problems with schoolwork. 

Students whose ADHD impairs their learning may qualify for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or for a Section 504 plan.

Children with ADHD can benefit from study skills instruction, changes to the classroom setup, alternative teaching techniques, and a modified curriculum.  Here are some strategies to use at home:

  • Provide structure,
  • short breaks during homework time (15 minutes on task, 5 off)
  • Allow them to move while studying or use something to fidget with if they tend to be hyper or need to move.
  • Only give one or two directions at a time and have your child repeat the directions.

Learn more about the signs of ADD at https://www.understood.org/articles/checklist-signs-of-dyslexia-at-different-ages#Grades_K%E2%80%932_signs_of_dyslexia.


1 in 68 children are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. Often these children are identified after the age of three but autism spectrum could be detected as early as six to eighteen months. According to Autism Science Foundation, early diagnosis and early intervention are critical. Studies show that about half of children with autism who are in an evidence-based early intervention program from age 3-5 can gain enough skills to be mainstreamed for kindergarten. Read more about the signs of autism at http://autismsciencefoundation.org/what-is-autism/early-signs-of-autism/.

A Resource for Parents..

Download and explore Wunder, a free community app for parents and caregivers of children who learn and think differently. It’s a place where parents can safely connect with other parents to find support, seek advice from experts, and get resources to help their child thrive. https://www.understood.org/blog/meet-wunder-a-first-of-its-kind-community-app-for-parents-by-understood-org/


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The Libertore Fund For Children
P.O. Box 5415
Lakeland, FL 33807


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