Learning Disorders (dyslexia, dysorthographia, dyscalculia)
The term « Learning Disability » refers to a neurological condition capable of affecting various cognitive abilities linked to learning. This neurodevelopmental disorder interferes with the acquisition, the organisation, the retention, the understanding, the use and even the processing of verbal and non-verbal information. Dysfunctions such as learning disabilities occur despite adequate intellectual functioning or education, and cannot be explained by sensory deficits (vision, hearing), by another neurological condition, nor by unfavorable socio-economical or socio-cultural conditions.
We recognize the presence of a learning disability in individuals presenting with difficulties acquiring reading, writing, comprehension or mathematical skills. What we call dyslexia (reading), dysorthographia (writing and spelling) or dyscalculia (mathematics) are actually three different manifestations of learning disabilities, each finding their neurological root in different regions of the brain and persisting throughout time. This specific point is important as it allows to distinguish a persistent Learning Disorder from learning difficulties, which are temporary, transient and generally short-lived.
Letter inversions are often thought of as signs of dyslexia (b’s and d’s being the stereotypes usually brought up), but the overall clinical picture goes well beyond these details. In fact, a learning disorder will come to interfere with the conceptualisation of sounds from a given language, with their written representation, with the treatment and conversion of letter and sounds, or the recognition and visual discrimination of syllables and words as a whole, with the notion of numbers, quantities or proportions and even the concept of mathematical equations. Such dysfunctions can occur in isolation just as they may present in a more generalized manner.