Social Skills and Learning Disabilities

Young girl standing apart from her peersThe consequences of learning disabilities are rarely confined to school or work. Many areas of life are affected, including the role of the person with learning disabilities in their family, relationships with friends, non-academic functioning such as sports or dancing, self-esteem and self-confidence to handle daily situations.

Individuals who have learning disabilities may be less observant in their social environment, may misinterpret the social behavior of others at times, and may not learn as easily from experiences or social “cues” as their friends. Some children may exhibit an immaturity and social ineptness due to their learning disability. While seeking acceptance, their eagerness may cause them to try too hard in inappropriate ways.

Common behavioral characteristics of individuals with learning disabilities:

  • Inability to interpret environment and social cues
  • Poor judgment; little thought about logical consequences
  • Poor impulse control
  • Need for immediate gratification
  • Inability to set realistic priorities and goals
  • Inappropriate conclusions due to deficient reasoning ability
  • Illogical reasons for actions
  • Inability to develop meaningful relationships with others
  • Immature and “bossy” behavior
  • Low frustration tolerance resulting in disruptive behavior

Direct instruction in social skills training is highly recommended to help individuals with learning disabilities cope with their innate lack of social perception. Professional help from a variety of disciplines on an ongoing basis may be necessary.

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Feel free to leave a comment below regarding this article. If you have a specific question for LDA, please contact us directly.


  1. I was doing some research online about how to improve comprehension and stumbled across this website about learning disorders which lead me to the “Common behavioral characteristics of individuals with learning disabilities”. I believe I display all of the characteristics listed and I’m a grown woman. I’m looking for guidance on where I can go for help. I live in the UK so my resource network is not the same as the U.S. Please let me know where I should start.

    Thank you,

    • Martin Lykke says

      I was diagnosed with LD/ADD and attended Educationally Handicapped classes with tutoring in grade school. My social skills and learning differences have been a limiting factor all my life. Many years ago I was recommended to a support group in San Diego that is run by a Psychologist that specializes in Learning differences called Learning Development Services his website is Learning Development phone number is 619-276-6912. I hope that he can give you some resource information that will help you. You can also contact LDA of America at 4156 Library Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15234. Good luck and God Bless.

      • I was diagnosed with learning disabilities in 3rd grade and short term memory loss. It’s always been an obstacle in my life but I never talk about it. I can’t compute numbers in my head and have always gotten frustrated easily. The way i speak is in fact below my age and I’m 26. Lots of times people think I’m in high school. I’ve been fired twice from jobs because I was too slow or said something inappropriate but I’ve never been told too much about that. I never know when I’m being “inappropriate” at times. Sometimes I don’t know how to explain things for people to understand. It’s so frustrated. Also i just got married and I notice episodes happen a lot more now but I know it’s not his fault. I just can’t say things tactfully because my brain seems to not want to react that way. It’s not because I want to be rude or disrespectful. I am looked at as sweet most of the time normally. My husband and I just moved to Pittsburgh. Do you know if I can apply for some sort of benefits for my disabilities?

        • LDA of America says

          If you’re talking about trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you’ll have to apply through the Social Security Administration. The article on the LDA website Learning Disabilities and Social Security Disability Benefits helps to explain the qualifiers. Specifically, it says to qualify for disability benefits from the SSA, you will have to prove that you are disabled according to their criteria. That usually means proving that you have a condition that is either listed in the Blue Book and meets the SSA’s Blue Book criteria or that you have a condition that is equal to a section in the Blue Book. Please refer to the article for more details at You may be able to get more information – and help finding a job that matches your strengths – by contacting your local Vocational Rehabilitation office. Find information about that agency at If your last diagnosis was in the third grade, you’ll have to have an updated assessment before trying to apply for any benefits. Documentation for learning disabilities needs to be updated every five (5) years. You can find information about getting a new evaluation at

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