The Learning Disabilities Association 

Of Chatham-Kent

Learning Disabilities Association of Chatham Kent

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This page includes a number of articles concerning the nature and treatment of Learning Disabilities, medical and educational information. This may be where you find out that what you have been looking for follows a known pattern.  

For more precise information on any single issue, Contact Us or research the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) website at , the Learning Disabilities Association (LDAC) website at  

Additional resources are available in our Library, with a list of our resources located on the Library pages on this website.  Printed photocopied information is available through our office and not catalogued on this website. When a significant discovery has been made, there has been a news release or a conference is in the works, look in What's New?

This section will always be filled with facts you should know.  For updated information on research and treatment of Learning Disabilities, look in What's New?

  Contents:     (click on the following links)

The 'Official' LDA Definition of Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Fact Sheet

The Short Explanation



The Short Explanation

What is a Learning Disability?

·        It is a lifelong condition

·        It is when a person has trouble 

processing information

·        It is when a person has unexpected problems 

in reading, math or other areas

·        It occurs in people with average or better abilities

·        It is not a person with low intelligence; 

it is not mental illness nor is it autism


The Simple Answer:

Learning disabilities can affect how a person interprets, remembers, 

understands and expresses information. It’s important to know that 

people with learning disabilities are intelligent and have abilities to learn 

despite difficulties in processing information. Living with a learning 

disability can have an ongoing impact on friendships, school, work, 

self-esteem and daily life. People with learning disabilities can succeed 

when solid coping skills and strategies are developed.  

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The “official” LDA definition of learning disabilities:

·        "Learning Disabilities" refers to a variety of disorders that affect the 

acquisition, retention, understanding, organization or use of verbal and/or

non-verbal information. These disorders result from impairments in one 

or more psychological processes related to learning, in combination with 

otherwise average abilities essential for thinking and reasoning. Learning 

disabilities are specific not global impairments and are distinct from intellectual 


  ·        Learning disabilities range in severity and invariably interfere with the 

acquisition and use of one or more of the following important skills:

-         oral language (e.g., listening, speaking, understanding)

-         reading (e.g., decoding, comprehension)

-         written language (e.g., spelling, written expression)

-         mathematics (e.g., computation, problem solving)

  ·        Learning disabilities may also cause difficulties with organizational skills, 

social perception and social interaction.

  ·        The impairments are generally life-long. However, their effects may be 

expressed differently over time, depending on the match between the demands 

of the environment and the individual's characteristics. Some impairments may 

be noted during the pre-school years, while others may not become evident until 

much later.

 ·        During the school years, learning disabilities are suggested by unexpectedly 

low academic achievement or achievement that is sustainable only by extremely 

high levels of effort and support.

  ·        Learning disabilities are due to genetic, other congenital and/or acquired 

neuro-biological factors. They are not caused by factors such as cultural or

language differences, inadequate or inappropriate instruction, socio-economic 

status or lack of motivation, although any one of these and other factors may 

compound the impact of learning disabilities. Frequently learning disabilities 

co-exist with other conditions, including attentional, behavioural and emotional 

disorders, sensory impairments or other medical conditions.

  For success, persons with learning disabilities require specialized interventions 

in home, school, community and workplace settings, appropriate to their 

individual strengths and needs, including:

·        specific skill instruction

·        the development of compensatory strategies

·        the development of self-advocacy skills

·        appropriate accommodations

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Learning Disabilities Fact Sheet

  • Learning disabilities are a congenital neurological condition, affecting as much as 10% of the population, that impacts the lives of children, youth and adults and affects all facets of human functioning, including social functioning (The Lancet, February, 1990)

  • There are 2.163,000 students in Ontario’s schools, and some 95,000 (approximately 4.5%) have been identified as having learning disabilities (Ministry of Education statistics)


  • Almost 50% of adolescent suicides had previously been diagnosed as having learning disabilities (Peck, 1985, Rourke, 1989 and numerous other studies)


  • Between 30 and 70% of young offenders and inmates have experienced learning problems (Koopman, 1983, Crealock, 1978, Ministry of the Solicitor General, 1987 and other studies)


  • 22% of Canadians are functionally illiterate and 24% fall in the lowest literacy level (Canadian census figures)


  • in two US studies, 54% of one state’s welfare caseload was persons with learning disabilities; and learning disabilities and substance abuse were the most common problems keeping welfare clients from becoming employed and maintaining employment (Washington State LD Research Project, 1997 and US DOL/ETA Office of Welfare to Work)


  • and 62% of students with learning disabilities were unemployed one year after graduation (Wagner, 1991)


  • in the USA, 18% of youth 18 or older do not complete high school; of this group, 36% have learning disabilities (Issue Brief, June 2002 published by the US National Center on Secondary Education and Transition)


  • in the Grade 10 literacy tests held in February and October of 2002, the Ontario Educational Quality Accountability Office reported that 29% of English-language students with learning disabilities who attempted the test, failed both the reading and writing components; of French-language students with learning disabilities, 52% failed both reading and writing in February, 2002 and 36% failed both in the October, 2002 testing session


  • of post-secondary student surveyed by the Ontario Learning Opportunities  Task Force (1997-2002):
    •  only 8.5% had access to assistive devices such as computers, taped books etc.;
    • only 16% has access to a special education placement, either full or part time;
    • only 10.7% received any specific transition planning (and transition planning for all exceptional students [except gifted] 14 and older has been mandated since 1998)



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