Learning Disabilities Essay Example for College Students

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What are the challenges to the inclusion of children with those difficulties and how can they be overcome?


The DSM-V (APA, 2013) has recently revised the diagnosis of learning disability into a single category, specific learning disabilities (SLD), in order to emphasise the fact that children tend to experience general difficulties in academic abilities and that such difficulties are inter-related. SLD in DSM-V are classified under neurodevelopmental disorders and it is stated that a diagnosis is dependent on impairment in the child’s learning using specific academic skills such as reading, writing or arithmetic, which then disrupt further academic learning (Tannock, 2014). Typically, children are recognised as having a difficulty in certain areas of learning when they begin formal education, the difficulties can occur in different cultural groups and without interventions can persist into adulthood (Tannock, 2014).

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One area of difficulty experienced by children is dyslexia which occurs predominately in the domain of reading in the English language. Dyslexia mainly involves a problem when learning the correspondence between letters and sounds (Rose 2009; Snowling, 2013). Therefore the aspect of SLD to be focused on in the following essay will be dyslexia, the challenges encountered with this impairment and ways in which the challenges may be addressed.

Specific Learning Disabilities

The diagnostic criteria for SLD in the DSM-V, involves firstly an overall diagnosis of SLD and secondly the identification of specifiers. The specifiers identify the key characterisation of the disorder in the three academic domains of reading, writing and arithmetic. The diagnosis also involves a child demonstrating one of six symptoms over a 6 month period, which is persistent despite receiving any intervention strategies. Furthermore, the child’s abilities in the academic domain are below those of other children of the same age and cause disruption in academic and everyday activities (APA, 2013). In order to be diagnosed with SLD other conditions, for example, other neurological conditions or psychological issues must be excluded (APA, 2013). The key difference for a diagnosis of a learning disorder is the change from specific subtypes (reading disorder, mathematics disorder and written expressive disorder) in DSM-IV to one overarching condition (SLD) in DSM-V. One component of SLD is dyslexia, although terms such as dyslexia or dyscalculia are no longer used in the same way as they were previously in DSM-IV (Tannock, 2014).

Inclusive Education

Warnock, Norwich and Terzi (2010) define inclusive education as providing each child with an opportunity to be educated in a mainstream school. One of the central principles of inclusive education is that each child’s needs are assessed and there is flexibility to respond to their differences and individual requirements. In the UK, the aim is to educate all children with different needs in mainstream schools,

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