Myths & Facts About LDs

Myth: Learning disabilities (LDs) do not really exist.

Fact: LDs are real. Recent research indicates neurological differences in the brain structure and function for people who have learning disabilities.


Myth: Learning disabilities are all the same and/or easily understood.

Fact: Learning disabilities are complicated. The extent of their impact and the areas of learning they affect vary greatly from person to person; combine in any variety of ways; and vary depending on context. Helping is not as complicated: people with LDs need to determine which modes of learning work well for them and use these strengths to compensate for the areas affected by their LD.


Myth: Students with LDs cannot learn.

Fact: Students with LDs can be successful learners, at all levels and in any situation, by compensating for their weaknesses by using their strengths; by using alternative, individualized teaching and learning materials and methods; and by choosing tasks that suit themselves.


Myth: More boys than girls have learning disabilities.

Fact: Although four times as many boys as girls are identified as having LDs by schools, research studies suggest that many girls who are not identified also have the most common form of learning problem – difficulty with reading. Many girls’ learning difficulties are neither identified nor treated – possibly because boys who are struggling are, in general, more disruptive in classes.


Myth: Students with LDs are just lazy.

Fact: Students with LDs generally have to spend more time to adequately complete school assignments. This extended effort can often lead to difficulties in completing assignments on time, maintaining course requirements such as tutorial reading and studying. These difficulties should not be misinterpreted as ‘laziness’.


Myth: Students diagnosed with LDs at school age should have outgrown them by adulthood.

Fact: LDs are a lifelong condition. If the diagnosis of a learning disability in childhood is accurate, the disability will endure into adulthood. Specific learning strategies and adjustments can be developed to address problems, and can make it so that LDs are not a pressing issue, but the learning disability itself remains.


Myth: Learning disabilities are a school issue.

Fact: LDs affect one or more modes of learning, anywhere that mode is used. LDs tend to be noticed most often when they impact on school-learning, but exist in all areas of life – work, family, relationships, etc.


Myth: Accommodating the needs of students with LDs in schools is too difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

Fact: Accommodations implemented for students with LDs are also generally good examples of universal learning strategies. They can improve teaching and learning, not just for students with LDs, but also for the overall student population and other minority groups, such as people from a non-English speaking background. Teachers can also benefit from this approach by developing a range of flexible teaching and learning strategies that can be implemented in a number of different environments.


Myth: Providing academic adjustments such as accommodations and individualized teaching gives students with LDs an unfair advantage over other students.

Fact: Academic adjustments are determined on identified deficit’s resulting from a student’s LDs. Adjustments ensure equal and fair participation in a learning environment and ensure actual learning is recognized. Students with LDs are required to meet the same academic standards as their peers.


Myth: LDs can be cured.

Fact: There have been occasional claims by individuals of “curing” learning disabilities in various ways. Learning disabilities are a life-long condition; many people learn to successfully use accommodations and strategies with their LDs to such an extent that it is no longer an issue for them, and certain intensive study methods do help some people, but there is no researched evidence that one person’s solution will work for all.