Specific Learning Disorders
The term “specific learning disorder” has come into common usage in the last several years. The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) uses the term, which can be specified as: with impairment in written expression, with impairment in reading, with impairment in mathematics.
In many cases, these terms are being used instead of “dyslexia,” “dysgraphia,” “dyscalculia,” or “learning disability,” though the conditions are marked by the same processing deficits.
Many children have diagnoses of more than one specific learning disorder. We recently worked with a third-grader who was diagnosed with a specific learning disorder with impairment in mathematics, and a specific learning disorder with impairment in reading fluency. Her reading and arithmetic scores were significantly below average. After administering our testing battery, we began treatment for phonological processing to address the reading fluency. We also discovered a deficit in visual-motor processing, which was affecting her reading as well as her ability to think about number concepts and calculation. Our treatment regimen for math incorporated stimulation of her visual-motor processing to develop her ability to think about the pattern of numbers and the actions associated with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
By addressing the underlying processes associated with both diagnoses, this student made great gains. She is reading above grade level confidently, and has gained a solid understanding of the number system that she can use to work through basic mathematics and beyond.
If you would like to discuss a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder (or several), feel free to contact us.