Learning Disabilities

  • Johnny L. Matson
  • Jill C. Fodstad
Reference work entry


Learning disability (LD) is considered one of the most prevalent conditions in the educational system today. While the definition of what constitutes an LD varies, researchers, policymakers, educators, and clinicians agree that, generally, a child who has an LD has a marked discrepancy in performance in one or more major areas of learning while performing at or above peers in other domains. This deficit in learning has been shown to not only hinder the child with LD academically but is also linked to poorer long-term outcomes and other serious problems of adjustment. Therefore, early diagnosis and intervention of a child with LD is a high priority. Furthermore, it is imperative that the clinician is knowledgeable about what treatments are supported by the literature since LD is a fad magnet for ineffective and unsubstantiated treatments. Even in the midst of the nebulous and oft contested etiological theories, definitions, assessment and diagnostic techniques, and intervention practices, the clinician is given the task of being familiar with the many facets of LD while being competent enough to accurately assess, diagnose, and intervene upon this often nebulous childhood condition. In this chapter, a basic guideline regarding assessing, diagnosing, and treating LD is outlined. A thorough discussion regarding the current controversy pertaining to LDs is included. Additionally, the basic skills and various empirically supported interventions specific to LD are reviewed. The aim of this chapter, then, is to give the clinician aiming to work with individuals with LD an introduction into the competencies and skills that are essential. Taking what is delineated in this chapter coupled with a commitment to life-long learning and professional development will engender accurate clinical judgment and a high degree of professionalism in a field that continues to change.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Reading Comprehension Phonological Awareness Learn Disability Phonemic Awareness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnny L. Matson
    • 1
  • Jill C. Fodstad
    • 1
  1. 1.Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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