Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), as defined in DSM-5.

 According to DSM-5, SLD is a type of neurodevelopment disorder that impedes a person’s ability to learn and use specific academic skills, such as reading, writing and arithmetic, which serve as the foundation for most other academic learning. SLD is a clinical diagnosis and is not necessarily synonymous with ‘learning difficulties’.

Characteristics of children with learning problems

In a child, the visible and most alarming indicator of learning problem to parents and teachers is the failure in class tests and examinations. When a child consistently shows poor performance in one or more subjects in school, he should be testes to confirm or rule out learning problems. Other characteristics found in such children include deficits in:

·      Visual perception

·      Auditory perception

·      Visual motor activities

·      Conceptualization

·      Memory

·      Attention

A discrepancy between actual performance of the student and the expected performance in class is an indicator of learning problems.


Many children with learning problems are found to be:

·      Impulsive

·      Poor in comprehension

·      Disorganized

·      Having low self esteem

·      Having unpredictable behavior

·      Withdrawn

·      Communicating poorly

·      Anxious

·      Moody

·      Having difficulty in problem solving

·      Confused

·      Fidgety

  Specific types of learning disabilities and related disorders




Area of difficulty

Symptoms include trouble with



Processing language

·       Reading

·       Writing

·       Spelling

Confusing letter names and sounds, difficulties blending sounds into words, slow rate of reading, trouble remembering after reading text


Math skills

·       Computation

·       Remembering math facts

·       Concepts of time and money

Difficulty learning to count by 2s, 3s, 4s, poor mental math skills, problems with spatial directions


Written expression

·       Handwriting

·       Spelling

·       Composition

Illegible handwriting, difficulty organizing ideas for writing


Fine motor skills

·       Coordination

·       Manual dexterity

Trouble with scissors, buttons, drawing

Information Processing Disorders

Auditory Processing Disorder

Interpreting auditory information

·       Language development

·       Reading

Difficulty anticipating how a speaker will end a sentence

Visual Processing Disorder

Interpreting visual information

·       Reading

·       Writing

·       Math

Difficulty distinguishing letters like “h” and “n”

Other Related Disorders

Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Concentration and focus

·       Over-activity

·       Distractibility

·       Impulsivity

Can't sit still, loses interest quickly, daydreams