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Three Common Learning Disabilities

The term “learning disability” can strike a chord of panic in parents. “But my child is smart! How can she have a learning disability?” is a common reaction. And the reality is, they’re right! The majority of kids and teens (and adults!) with learning disabilities are intelligent—even geniuses! Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, and plenty more all had learning disabilities of some kind. How is that possible? Just look at some of the most common learning struggles and how kids try to work around them:

  1. Dyslexia

What it is: Trouble with words; difficulty reading

How kids work around it: Avoiding reading, looking at pictures for clues, memorization, watching videos of required books

Things to watch for: Not remembering what was just read (weak comprehension), struggling to pronounce new words, difficulty transferring what is heard to what is seen and vice versa, weak at letter sound discrimination (e.g., pin, pen), poor spelling

Common root cause: Weak phonemic awareness (the ability to hear and manipulate the 45 individual phonemes in the English language)

  1. ADHD

What it is: A broad term used to cover a variety of attention deficit disorders, including inattentive ADHD (i.e., “ADD”), hyperactive ADHD, and combined ADHD

How kids work around it: For inattentive ADHD, (which is more common in girls than the hyperactive type), they may ask friends for notes, look up answers online and rely on parental help to stay organized. For hyperactive ADHD, kids may frequently ask for a bathroom pass or make up excuses to leave their seat.

Things to watch for: Fidgeting, overactivity, squirming in seat, jumping from one activity to another without completing work, purposeless or non-goal-directed activity

Common root cause: Weak attention skills (sustained, divided, selective, and/or a combination of them)

  1. Dyscalculia

What it is: Trouble with numbers; math struggles

How kids work around it: Using calculators, looking things up online, looking up answers in the back of the book

Things to watch for: Confusion over math symbols, reversing or transposing numbers, trouble with sequencing, difficulty with mental math, trouble telling time and direction, problems grasping and remembering math concepts

Common root cause: Although genetics can play a role, the main cause is generally poor visual processing and memory skills (i.e., working and long-term)

If you suspect your child has one of these three learning disabilities, consider taking them in for a cognitive skills assessment. Once you know which skills are weakest, you can look into one-on-one brain training programs to target and train those weak skills.

LearningRx specializes in one-on-one brain training. We train cognitive skills through game-like exercises that are both fun and challenging—and we do it with a unique personal trainer approach. LearningRx’s customer satisfaction speaks for itself with an average rating of 9.5 out of 10. With 80 centers across the country, LearningRx is a pioneer in the one-on-one brain training industry. Learn more at