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What Are the Different Types of Learning Disability Groups?

By S. H. Williams
Updated: Feb 15, 2024

Learning disabilities are broken down into different groups based on specific areas of the learning process. The areas used for determining the types of learning disability groups include fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills, emotional skills and math. They also cover language, reading, writing and attention.

Motor skills are skills that involve movement. Fine motor skills are activities that involve the coordination of small muscle groups, such as the fingers. Gross motor skills involve larger muscles sets, such as those used in running or jumping.

Language learning disabilities cover disabilities processing and producing spoken language. Reading learning disabilities present problems with reading comprehension, from basic word recognition to understanding words and ideas. Written language disabilities cover the inability to write words and letters and the inability to organize thoughts and ideas in written form. Math learning disabilities present problems with counting, computing and memorization of numeric order and mathematical equations.

The most common conditions that fall into these learning disability groups are dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and disorders that involve the processing of auditory or visual stimuli. Dyslexia is a disorder that presents problems with spoken language, reading and written language skills. Dyscalculia is a math disorder, and dysgraphia is a writing disorder. Dyspraxia involves problems with fine motor skills. Auditory processing disorder presents problems with spoken language, and visual processing disorder involves a difficulty processing visual cues and falls into the reading, writing and math learning disability groups.

The social/emotional and attention areas are not defined in the same way as the rest of the learning disability groups, but they cover other issues that might impede the learning process. Social and emotional issues might create a barrier for learning in the classroom, or they might occur as a result of another learning disability. Attention disorders make it difficult for a person to focus, process information and organize thoughts and information.

The most prominent examples of social/emotional and attention disorders that affect learning are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and Asperger's syndrome. As its name suggests, ADHD is an attention disability. It can affect a child's ability to pay attention, follow instructions and sit still in school. Both autism and Asperger's syndrome are social/emotional disorders that can affect communication and overall performance and comfort in a school setting.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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