Learning Disabilities Fact Sheet

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Learning Disabilities Fact Sheet

Learning Disabilities (LD) are a neuro-biological disorder that affects the way in which a person takes in, remembers, understands and expresses information. People with LD have average to high intelligence; because they have difficulties with specific forms of information, they are able to learn and succeed if information (including coping strategies) is given in an appropriate mode.

School’s attachment to certain favoured modes of learning can lead to repeated failure and social ostracization, and result in low self-esteem and learned helplessness. Mental health issues, substance abuse, relationship difficulties and underemployment can develop as fallout from LDs that go undiagnosed and/or untreated.

Up to ten percent of the population is estimated to have some degree of learning disability; approximately three million Canadians.

90,000 students in Ontario were identified as having learning disabilities in the 2001-2002 school year.

Dropout rates among individuals with LD are as high as 35%; this is twice the rate as among the general population.

48% of adults with LDs are out of the workforce or underemployed, almost twice as many as the general population. Of those adults with LD who are employed, the average income is $14,000. Among the general population, the average income is $23,000.

Individuals with LDs represent a disproportionately large segment of the correctional population; estimates in Canada are as high as 40%.

Learning Disabilities are due to genetic, congenital and/or acquired neuro-biological factors. They are not caused by factors such as cultural or language differences, inadequate or inappropriate instruction, socioeconomic status or lack of motivation, although any one of these and other factors may compound the impact of learning disabilities.

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