Learning problems and learning disabilities (3073)

Key points below

What are learning problems?

A child with a learning problem has a hard time learning basic reading, spelling, writing, and math skills. It may be related to problems with attention, language, or memory.

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a specific and major weakness in important school skills like reading, math or writing. Most often, there is a problem in just one skill area where the child needs extra help. Every child with a learning disability is unique. Each child has their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

With support and help, children with learning disabilities can learn to work with their weaknesses and be successful.

Children may have some of the following signs at some time in their development. It doesn’t always mean there is a learning disability.

Signs you may see in your child

Problems with:

Other signs:

How are learning disabilities treated?

A child with a learning disability has a hard time with some school skills. A good treatment plan will focus on extra help in those areas. This extra help should start as soon as the problem is found, probably in kindergarten or 1st grade. Your child’s school may have a program to help your child. If not, you may need to find help at a learning center.

What can I do?

Get involved early. If your child has any of the above signs, talk to your child’s doctor. Your child may need to be tested by a specialist. Or talk to your child’s teacher or principal and request a meeting to discuss an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, which is a formal plan from the school describing interventions and support that will be provided to your child to help him or her learn.

How can I help my child?

Other teaching sheets and resources that may be helpful

For more information



Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.