Originally Answered: Question regarding my sisters learning disability?
Explanation of Learning Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified):
Learning Disorders are diagnosed when the individual’s achievement on individually administered, standardized tests in reading, mathematics, or written expression is substantially below that expected for age, schooling, and level of intelligence. The learning problems significantly interfere with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require reading, mathematical, or writing skills. A variety of statistical approaches can be used to establish that a discrepancy is significant. Substantially below is usually defined as a discrepancy of more than 2 standard deviations between achievement and IQ. A smaller discrepancy between achievement and IQ (i.e., between 1 and 2 standard deviations) is sometimes used, especially in cases where an individual’s performance on an IQ test may have been compromised by an associated disorder in cognitive processing, a comorbid mental disorder or a general medical condition, or the individual’s ethnic or cultural background. If a sensory deficit is present, the learning difficulties must be in excess of those usually associated with the deficit. Learning Disorders may persist into adulthood.
Demoralization, low self-esteem, and deficits in social skills may be associated with Learning Disorders…Adults with Learning Disorders may have significant difficulties with employment or social adjustment. Many individuals (10%-25%) with Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, or Dysthymic Disorder also have Learning Disorders…
There may be underlying abnormalities in cognitive processing (e.g., deficits in visual perception, linguistic processes, attention or memory, or a combination of these) that often precede or are associated with Learning Disorders. Standardized tests to measure these processes are generally less reliable and valid than other psychoeducational tests…Learning Disorders are…frequently found in association with a variety of general medical conditions (e.g., lead poisoning, fetal alcohol syndrome, or fragile X syndrome.) (DSM-IV pp.46-47.)
This approach to learning disabilities results in the definition of the following Learning Disorders:
· 315.00 Reading Disorder
· 315.1 Mathematics Disorder
· 315.2 Disorder of Written Expression
· 315.9 Learning Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
The last category might include problems in all three areas that together significantly interfere with academic achievement even though tests measuring each individual skill is not substantially below that expected given the person’s chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education