Children with learning disabilities exhibit a wide range of symptoms. These include problems with reading, mathematics, comprehension, writing, spoken language, or reasoning abilities. Hyperactivity, inattention and perceptual coordination also may be associated with learning disabilities but are not learning disabilities themselves. The primary characteristic of a learning disability is a significant difference between a child's achievement in some areas and his or her overall intelligence.

Learning disabilities typically affect five general areas:

l) Spoken language: delays, disorders, and deviations in listening and speaking

2) Written language: difficulties with reading, writing and spelling

3) Arithmetic: difficulty in performing arithmetic operations or in understanding basic concepts

4) Reasoning: difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts

5) Memory: difficulty in remembering information and instructions


Among the symptoms commonly related to learning disabilities are:

Academic Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

Behavioral/Social Symptoms


When considering these symptoms, it is important to remain mindful of the following:

  l) No one will have all these symptoms.

 2) Among LD populations, some symptoms are more common than others.

 3) All people have at least two or three of these problems to some degree.

 4) The number of symptoms seen in a particular child does not give an indication as to whether the disability is mild or severe. It is important to consider if the behaviors are chronic and appear in clusters.

Download the .pdf version.

© Richard Lavoie