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Learning Disabilities (LD) in Adulthood

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What are some of the definitions of learning disability (LD) in adult? Is there a consensus? Does it differ from LD in childhood? What are the reported risks and rewards of having a LD in adulthood? Please include references.

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This solution discusses the various definitions proposed for learning disabilities (LD) and the risks and rewards associated with having a LD in adulthood.

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1. What are some of the definitions of learning disability (LD) in adult? Is there a consensus? Does it differ from LD in childhood? What are the reported risks and rewards of having a LD in adulthood?

Learning disabilities do not go away as a person matures, and you do not grow out of your learning disability when you become an adult. You're also likely to face new challenges in fulfilling your role as a family member, employee, spouse or citizen. However, coming to a consensus of defining learning disability is problematic, and to date no clear consensus has been reached http://www.ncld.org/content/view/365/402/.

In the 1990s, more attention has been focused on adults with learning disabilities (LD) as a result of increased advocacy and research, several major federal laws, and heightened awareness of the changing demands of the workplace. Until recently, therefore, most programs, research, and funding had been directed toward children. However, it is now clear that most people do not outgrow learning disabilities (Gerber & Reiff, 1994).


1. Interestingly, the field of psychology and educational psychology has not quite reached consensus on definitions of LD.

2. To complicate the matter, there are professionals as well as members of the public who do not understand them or believe they exist. For example, in a Roper (1995) survey of 1,200 adults, 85% associated LD with mental retardation, 66% with deafness, and 60% with blindness. In Rocco's (1997) research, faculty "questioned the existence of certain conditions or if they existed, the appropriateness of classifying the condition as a disability" (p. 158).

3. However, most definitions describe learning disabilities as a group of disorders that affect the ability to acquire and use listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or math skills (Gerber & Reiff 1994; National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center 1995a; National Center for Learning Disabilities 1997). These difficulties vary in severity, may persist across the lifespan, and may affect one or more areas of a person's life, including learning, work, and social and emotional functioning.

4. Federal regulations for implementing the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act use the term "specific learning disabilities"--disorders in one or more central nervous system processes involved in perceiving, understanding, and using verbal or nonverbal information (Gerber & Reiff, 1994). "Specific" indicates that the disability affects only certain learning processes.

5. The current definition of a learning disability ...

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