Symptoms of Learning Disabilities

Student working on school writing, working on an assignmentThe symptoms of learning disabilities are a diverse set of characteristics which affect development and achievement.

Some of these symptoms can be found in all children at some time during their development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which do not disappear as s/he grows older.

Most frequently displayed symptoms:

  • short attention span,
  • poor memory,
  • difficulty following directions,
  • inability to discriminate between/among letters, numerals, or sounds,
  • poor reading and/or writing ability,
  • eye-hand coordination problems; poorly coordinated,
  • difficulties with sequencing, and/or
  • disorganization and other sensory difficulties.

Other characteristics that may be present:

  • performs differently from day to day,
  • responds inappropriately in many instances,
  • distractible, restless, impulsive,
  • says one thing, means another,
  • difficult to discipline,
  • doesn’t adjust well to change,
  • difficulty listening and remembering,
  • difficulty telling time and knowing right from left,
  • difficulty sounding out words,
  • reverses letters,
  • places letters in incorrect sequence,
  • difficulty understanding words or concepts, and/or
  • delayed speech development; immature speech.
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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. India Ramdial says:

    Hi my name is India and I am a 19 year old college freshman and I have had my LD since I was four and it has been a constant struggle since then. It’s hard for me to cope with my struggles regarding basic math, reading comprehension, and writing fluency. I hate every part of it and what sucks the most is that I cannot change it and I will never will be able to, but I can’t let my LD get the better of me and I hope I don’t let the selt-doubt consume me. However, I can’t help but ask myself “How will I be able to survive out in the real world when I can’t even count change correctly?” It’s a constant thing weighing heavily on my shoulders. I hope one day I will be able to let go of my doubt and finally accept what is.

    • LDA of America says:

      There are a TON of apps and assistive technology devices that allow people with learning disabilities to function very well in their school, work, and personal life. For example, speech-to-text software like Dragon Naturally Speaking or Window’s Narrator allow you to talk to your computer and it types what you say. That can be a huge time-saver. Graphic organizers like Inspiration can help with reading comprehension; also, access to text-to-speech programs that read out loud for you can also help a lot. There’s information about assistive technology at and at There’s also a great app-finder to help you find free/cheap apps that can help a lot at You should be able to find any number of apps to help you with your basic skills.

      • Natural Readers software is a free text-to-speech software program you can download on your computer at With this program installed on your computer, your computer will read out loud everything on your monitor after you highlight the text. This includes internet sites, email, and word processing documents. Actually, it can read anything you see written on your computer.
      • Voice Dream Reader is an app for your android OR iPhone that lets you use your phone to take a picture of what you want to read and then it reads it out loud to you. This works great for books, magazines, menus, or whatever else you need to read that’s not on a computer. You can check it out at It costs $9.99 at the App Store or Google Play. Voice Dream also has tools for writing. Their website is worth checking out.

      So don’t panic – you should be able to function just fine with access to affordable or even free technology – and don’t wait until you graduate to start using it! Your school’s Disability Services office probably has more ideas for you, as well as access to hardware and software that can help you succeed in college and beyond.

  2. Antoinette Blunt says:

    I would like to here comments from people who have a”Learning Disability” from an TBI and for someone who’s IQ is above average. It feels like there is no-one to reach out to in that spectrum. I have have children who carry my father and my characteristics. I have always been very analytical since I was a pre-teen, but I have had this accident since, 1998 and I am stuck I can not find anyone in my spectrum to Identify, analyst and comer up with a plan that would help everyone move forward. I researched for answers to the questions that I had previously asked, because I didn’t have anyone else to try and answer those questions.

    Unfortunately I am still seeking answers to those question that were asked previously.

    • LDA of America says:

      Do you have specific questions that the LDA Adult Topics Committee may be able to answer? If not, there are many people who have learning disabilities due to traumatic brain injuries. Hopefully some will read your post and respond to it.
      You mention the “spectrum,” so if you are referring to Austism Spectrum Disorder, please clarify so we can respond with appropriate resources for that disorder.
      Another option may be the Virginia Commonwealth University’s National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury at Included in their list of resources is a link to several sites that have posted discussions from TBI survivors, including those with learning disabilities. There’s also a link to a TBI chat room. You may get some responses there. If none of this has addressed your questions, please let us know.

  3. Yaritza Molina says:

    Hey everyone, I’m 21 year old and I have a 1 year old son but I know this might sound crazy but I sometime feel like I still have learning disability. I love my son so much. I don’t regret having him not one bit hes my world. About learning disability, I don’t think before I say something. I have difficulty sounding words and difficulty listening and remembering stuff. I feel like anything I say sound stupid. People still call me dumb, retard or stupid or slow those words are my weakness I break down every time. I’ve tried to get over it and not to let it get to me but I can never fight it. When I was in high school I was completely lost it was a whole new world to me. I’ve failed exams couple times so I had to retake them year after year until I finally passed but it was a C-D+ type of score and I wasn’t happy with the score that I had on my exam at all. The only subject I was good at was Math and History but everything else I failed it. I wanted to be like everyone else. Be smart like them and have honors roll. I work and customers will notice I’m not being fast enough counting the changes because I’m horrible with numbers. I feel worthless sometime. A customer called me stupid once and I broke down at work it was horrible.

    • LDA of America says:

      You don’t sound crazy at all! But you sound like a very caring mother and person who wants to succeed and stop feeling like you can’t do things. You can start by reading the information at The more you know about yourself and your learning disability, the more confidence you’ll have, and less anxiety as well. If you have not had a complete evaluation done, you might consider doing that. The process of evaluation will identify your strengths and your challenges, and the diagnostician can help you understand how to use your strengths and how to accommodate your challenges. Learning to be a good self-advocate is extremely important, whether at work or school or just interacting in daily life activities. You’re off to a great start by looking for assistance and reading other people’s stories on this website. Add to that reading about what learning disabilities are and the more you know, the better you’ll feel about yourself. The bottom line is that people with learning disabilities are smart – you know you are because you’ve survived this long without any supports at all! If you get a current evaluation, you will have the legal right to request accommodations in the workplace and/or school, and that will help you succeed where you’ve struggled before. If you think you may have an undiagnosed learning disability, you can learn about the learning disability assessment process at Also, your local Vocational Rehabilitation office may be able to help you find a better and/or more appropriate job based on your strengths as well as getting accommodations in the workplace. You can explore their services and locations at In addition, if you want to further your education, there are several articles about LD and postsecondary education at Your local Vocational Rehabilitation office may be able to help you with getting back into school if you’re interested. The most important thing is to keep being proactive, follow the suggestions above, and enjoy your wonderful son!

  4. Hi my name is Sara I’m 18 I’m a mother of 2 kids and I have a learning disability I no how bad that might sound a girl with a learning disability with 2 kids I no but I love my kids with all my heart and I’ll do anything for them but it’s hard for me being a mother and Haven this ld I don’t go to school I dropped out because of my problem I dropped out when I was like 15 and I have been having this probably since I was a kid I want to finish school and be a cosmetologist but I’m afraid that I can’t with a learning disability I love makeup and I love nails I wanna learn more about it I can do makeup good I fill like that’s my talent I have been trying to find my talent but it’s hard I wanna become something for my kids for myself but the school work is way too hard for me when I was in middle school I was in a small class and I was doing good learning slowly but I was learning I went to 9 they put me in a big class I couldn’t do it I don’t do my work I just sit they and draw I can’t do the work and I just look up at everybody and they are all working and I’m just sitting there lost there was times I went to the bathroom and cried thinking to myself why can’t I be like everyone else why can’t I do it like them I had no choice but to go to school because my mom’s bf made me go and I got to the point I would go in the bathroom and start kicking and crying it’s hard for me so my mom and her bf broke up and I got pregnant and I dropped out of school so since then I have not been in school I’m 18 and I wanna go to school but I can’t do big classes or do some type of online but something that will help me with my learning problem ???

    • You should consider attending a community college.

    • There is some online school for special needs and GCU will take you because they will modify and help you with your homework. I’m the same way to with a learning disability and epilepsy ugh! You can look on with colleges how small there colleges are.

  5. Thank you guys for this amazing thread I’ve came across a hardship in my life recently because of my learning disability and I can honestly say this helped me get my mind right.

  6. I m 34 and I have a learnig disability Im planning on going back to school to be an early childhood and cna but I have trouble comprehending and passing the tests Im hoping that I can get some help having a learning disability does hurt me because I be frustrated and suffering from it it took me 3 tomes to pass my drivers linces but I got it! I beeni g determing trying to get a certificate but I dont know what resource to help me or the right people to help me I hope god can bless me to get help with a good job.

  7. anonymous says:

    Everyone Learns at there own pace: I was born in Ethiopia and discovered my learning problem around 3rd grade. I came home and didn’t know how to do my homework. I failed all my exams literally 0/X. I did however have some concept of learning at the time hence why I know I was dong bad. Until I was about the age of eight I didn’t learn to read or write. At age nine my family moved us to the United States. I had difficulty learning English and also didn’t learn basic arithmetic until I was the age of ten. Eventually I did learn on my own (no intervention or medical diagnosis). My family didn’t have the capacity or resources to think different about my learning problem. They treated me like any kid. I enjoined sports so that was my social and academic avenue. Eventually I was able to graduate high-school and obtain a BS from college with focus in Engineering. Non of it was easy: I was always struggling but found ways to overcome my failures mostly through hard work. I’ve been working as a Professional in different industries for the past ten years and later found out from my peers and managers how I am actually more intellectual than the average through many project successes and organization awards. I’ve also been very savvy and had a small success in startups. The lesson here is Everyone is Different and if we classify and focus on prescription then we create a society and eventually a world with unfulfilled potential.

    • Stephaney Gray says:

      Hi. I don’t know when you wrote this but I find that my 14 year old tries very hard to learn but mostly fails. Especially math. Can you say the steps you took when doing it on your own. Please be vivid.
      I too do not subscribe to a prescribed solution but also believe that we all learn at our own pace and in our own way.
      You can respond to me at

  8. I was in LD classes at a young age. My problem was always math. I struggled with reading too. However as I got older I found that I actually love to read. Math on the other hand, not so much. If I didn’t understand a math problem quickly my brain just shut down and I would drift off into space. I am 35 now. I’m still like that even today. It was always embarrassing for me in school going to LD classes. I just wanted to go to regular classes like everyone else.

  9. Sarah McClenaghan says:

    Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m 22 with a learning disability. I wasn’t aware I had a LD until almost a year ago, when my mom told me. When I got evaluated as a child, the doctor told my mom my IQ was lower than my actual age – that I was going to have a difficult time connecting with others, struggle in school, have a hard time expressing myself through words, not be able to socialize, and overall, be disabled and struggle throughout my whole life. I always knew I was different while I was growing up, but it never came together until recently and honestly, it’s been hard to accept. Some people treat those with LD differently, like we are stupid, not able to do anything, that they are superior, and we are useless. Slowly over time, I have realized my LD doesn’t define me who I am. I cannot change the fact I have a LD, but if I want to be successful, I must accept who I am, and try my best to improve myself to be the person I want to be. Ironically enough, I am currently in college going for a major in Communications, with a minor in Psychology to become a Motivational Speaker and spread awareness on mental health, as well as Learning Disabilities. Those who have LD deserve to be heard, and I am going to let others know with LD’s they are not alone. We deserve to be here, to be understood, to receive respect, and be loved. Do not give up because you are different – embrace who you are, get the help you need, and no matter what, believe you can achieve – because you CAN. And you WILL.

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