Learning Disability

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Specific learning disabilities are heterogeneous in nature, often differing markedly from one person to the next. The Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia, effective on July 7, 2009, and reissued on January 25, 2010 (the Virginia Regulations) define the terms as follows.

"Specific learning disability" means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of intellectual disabilities; of emotional disabilities; of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. (COV § 22.1-213; 34 CFR 300.8 (c) (1U0))

Various Types of Specific Learning Disabilities

More information on the conditions below:


Virginia's Guidelines for Educating Students with Specific Learning Disabilities (PDF) Also available as an accessible Word Document (Word) – A resource for teachers and administrators as they address the educational needs of students with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD). These guidelines offer an overview of best practices for educating individuals with SLD. Parents of children with SLD may find this document useful as well.
Specific Learning Disability Supplementary Guide Dyslexia: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) –  This document is designed to be a resource for teachers, administrators and parents to address the educational needs of students with dyslexia. It provides information on the resources and services available to students with dyslexia through general education, as well as any student with dyslexia who may qualify to receive services as a student with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).

Evidence-Based Specially Designed Instruction in Mathematics Resource Guide (PDF) provides an overview of evidence-based instructional strategies that educators can utilize to support students with mathematics disability or difficulty at any grade. Importantly, the strategies outlined in this document are targeted at improving learning outcomes for the following student populations:

  • Students with a formal school identification of a specific learning disability in mathematics.
  • Students with a non-mathematics related disability (e.g., speech and language disorder, specific learning disability in reading) who experience mathematics difficulty.
  • At-risk students without a formal disability diagnosis who experience mathematics difficulty.
Students with Disabilities in Mathematics: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) is a companion to the Evidenced Based Specially Designed Instruction in Mathematics Resource Guide.  This document provides an overview of the characteristics of mathematics disability, as well as information about accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology that can support a student with a disability in mathematics.

Outside Resources

  • Accessible Instructional Materials Center of Virginia (AIM-VA) produces and provides – at no cost to school divisions – accessible instructional and educational materials meeting NIMAS requirements for blind students and those with print disabilities. These materials include core instructional materials, trade books, reading interventions, test preparation materials, etc. in accessible digital formats.
  • Center on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support – The Center on MTSS strives to support educators in implementing tiered support systems that address students’ academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs.
  • LDOnline – dedicated to the education of students with learning disabilities, learning disorders and differences. Parents and teachers of learning disabled children will find guidance on attention deficit disorder, ADD / ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dysnomia, reading difficulties, speech and related disorders.
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities - an effective, easy-to-use resource for people seeking authoritative information on learning disabilities. This website includes information on types of LD, for parents, at school, adults with LD and additional resources. 
    • NCLD has a new resource – the LD Navigatorv, an online, comprehensive, clinical tool, developed by the field’s leading experts that enables pediatric professionals and parents to navigate a child’s learning disability.