What is the difference between a reading “difficulty” and a learning “disability” specifically in reading?

learning_disability_readingSome children struggle with reading but are not labeled with having a learning disability.

What is a disability?

A learning disability is when a child has difficulty learning a particular skill or academic area. Learning disabilities are not related to intelligence, and are often physiological; meaning someone with a learning disability may be wired differently than other people’s brains.

When you see a child with a reading difficulty, these children are those students that are lagging behind their peers, and require more time to learn a certain concept. Students with reading difficulty could also have received poor reading instruction in the past.

Students that are formally diagnosed with a learning disability receive special education under a federal law called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.) To outline the educational goals and services that the student needs to be successful, an Individualized Education Plan or IEP is developed. Schools must accommodate for students needs within the IEP.

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