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Learning Disabilities

  • By: Anna Karin Kingston
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Mothers of children with learning disabilities often find themselves on the margins of society. They have to adjust to a new reality of mothering outside the normative discourse of motherhood, where childcare manuals and common knowledge become less meaningful. This extraordinary maternal work also frequently involves negotiations with professionals regarding the child's development.

Definitions

The term learning disability has replaced mental retardation and refers to both intellectual and social disabilities. It is used to describe a wide range of disabilities, from severe and profound to mild and high functioning. Thus, a child with a high IQ can still be “learning disabled” in the context of, for example, social skills and communication. The term special needs is also frequently used and defined in terms of what the child ...

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