Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide

Specific Learning Disorder

Rick Ostrander, Ed.D., E. Mark Mahone, Ph.D., ABPP
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DEFINITION

  • Specific learning disorder (SLD) is a group of neurobiologically-based neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of:
    • Listening
    • Speaking
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Reasoning
    • Mathematical abilities
  • Specific learning disorder is classified under the Neurodevelopmental Disorders section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) [1].
    • The key feature is difficulties learning and using academic skills, despite interventions being put in place to target those difficulties.
    • The difficulties may include: inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading; difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read; difficulties with spelling, written expression, mathematical reasoning; difficulties mastering number sense, number facts, or calculation.

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Last updated: October 17, 2014