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A Little Bit About Common Learning Differences


ADHD stands for attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder.  There are three subtypes: predominantly inattentive presentation (sometimes called "ADD"); predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation; and combined presentation.  People with ADHD have trouble focusing, ignoring distractions, staying organized, and/or controlling their motor activity and impulses.  They are also creative and out-of-the-box problem-solvers.


Dyslexia is a language-based learning difference that affects about 1 in 5 people.  The biggest areas of difficulty are reading and spelling.  The core problem is in processing the sounds of language, so reading accuracy is harder than reading comprehension.  Associated difficulties are in remembering words when speaking, sequencing sounds and syllables, and with directionality (i.e., left vs right).  Dyslexia has nothing to do with vision.


People with dysgraphia have a hard time with the physical act of writing.  Their handwriting is poor with inconsistent spacing, illegible letter formation, and mistakes in capitalization and punctuation.  They have a much easier time talking about their ideas than writing about them.

Nonverbal Learning Disorder

​Nonverbal Learning Disorder affects visual-spatial skills, motor coordination, and social interactions like reading body language and facial expression.  Academically, math and handwriting are usually the most impacted.  Social difficulties are often also seen and organization could be a problem.

Dyscalculia/Math Disorder

​Dyscalculia is a fancy name for math disorder.  People with math disorders struggle to understand and apply basic math concepts and cannot remember math facts and procedures.  They have stronger skills in language arts.

Other Reading and Writing Disorders

​Sometimes reading and writing disorders are caused by processing deficits in specific areas other than those causing dyslexia and dysgraphia.  Only a complete assessment can clarify the underlying cause(s) of academic delays.

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