July 26, 2023

Learning Disorders: Types and Symptoms

What are the learning disorders?

Learning disorders are processing problems based on neurological activities. Reading, writing and comprehension abilities are mostly affected by learning disorders. Here are the common types and symptoms of learning disorders:

Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a condition that affects how the brain processes and interprets auditory information. Children with APD have difficulty understanding sounds and/or words. They may be unable to distinguish sounds when there are other noises (for example, within a crowded room or on the street). APD is does not stem from a physiological problem or impairment.

Children affected with APD will have trouble understanding or remembering things language-related like parental or teacher instructions. They may be unable to easily explain something they heard (like re-telling a story) or follow directions.

Language Processing Disorder

Language Processing Disorder (LPD) is a subtype of Auditory Processing Disorder, but refers only to how the brain processes language. LPD affects how one understands the semantics of language. Those with the disorder cannot express themselves verbally in a concise or easy manner. This can stem to their writing, which may appear clumsy and unfocused. They may not understand jokes or have difficulty recalling words.

learning disorders


Dyslexia primarily affects how a person reads. However, this can negatively overflow into a person’s speech and understanding of written texts. Children with dyslexia often mix up letters, have difficulty distinguishing units of sound (phonemes), and read without understanding what is written.

Children with dyslexia encounter numerous difficulties in the classroom. They may read things incorrectly and/or slowly, which can cause confusion and embarrassment. They often have trouble with in-class assignments or exams, as the instructions may be indecipherable and time constraints means they cannot finish their work.


Dysgraphia is when someone has trouble with the physical act of writing and it’s a type of learning disability. It is important to note that children with dysgraphia do not have an underlying physical or motor problem that prevents them from being able to write.

Children with dysgraphia often have messy or completely illegible handwriting. They may take a long time to write things down, not space words or letters neatly, flip letters, have poor spelling, or be unable to organize their thoughts in writing.

Dysgraphia causes many of the same problems as dyslexia, as students may be labeled as disorganized or sloppy. Being unable to write clearly often causes confusion or misunderstanding on the part of the reader, which is especially problematic for their academic progress and evaluation. They may be isolated from group projects for being “slow” or producing ineffectual work, which in turn leads to social frustration and low self-esteem.

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Some children are more math-inclined than others, but for those with Dyscalculia, the difficulty heightened exponentially. Dyscalculia is simply a poor understanding of numbers, symbols, counting, and mathematics. Children with this disorder generally earn substandard grades in their math classes due to their inability to recognize patterns, read math symbols, and perform basic math functions. However, Dyscalculia can cause problems outside of school too. Counting money, telling time, and reading a calendar are all tasks that can be overwhelming.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorders

A Non-Verbal Learning Disorder occurs when there is a gap between verbal skills and motor skills and/or visual-spatial skills. Children with this type of disorder will have a strong verbal ability, but may appear physically clumsy. They may seem to hyper-verbalize their surroundings, like labelling common objects, circumstances, or concepts. They may also take things very literally, which causes trouble in assessing non-verbal communication like body language.





This article is examined by Clinical Child Psychologist and Ph. D. Researcher Kevser Çakmak, and produced by Otsimo Editorial Team.

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This post does not provide medical advice. See Additional Information.