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Learning Disabilities

The term learning disabilities has been in use since the 1960s and has been applied to individuals who demonstrate poor academic skills despite adequate resources and opportunities to learn. Previous versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) categorized these problems as Learning Disorders, a diagnosis comprising three separate disorders: (1) reading, (2) mathematics, and (3) written expression. In 2013, the fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5) renamed the category Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), incorporating all learning disabilities into one diagnostic category. SLD refers to persistent difficulties in “learning and using academic skills,” such that the difficulties do not respond to sound instruction and targeted interventions. The DSM-5 definition also includes specifiers to characterize the nature of an individual’s learning impairment (e.g., ...

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