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What are learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities are several disorders characterized by difficulty learning in a typical manner. This condition is also known as learning disorder or learning difficulty, and in most of the cases, it is caused by an unknown factor. The question about the true nature of learning disabilities continues to intrigue scientific minds of our times. At this point, the only certain thing is that learning disabilities involve disorders that affect the brain’s ability to receive and process information. This informational input and processing is actually, what is considered when we speak about learning. People with learning disabilities typically have problems to learn things in the conventional way, and they are commonly challenged to figure things out by themselves. The appropriate academic interventions may help people living with learning disorders to live better lives and overcome their disability. However, certain forms of learning disabilities are incurable and patients are faced with unique challenges throughout their whole lives.

Causes of learning disabilities

Unfortunately, no one knows for certain what causes learning disabilities. If doctors would know what causes them, it would be easier to prevent them from occurring. At this point, science considers a couple of different factors as causes behind someone’s learning disability.

In most of the cases, the causes of learning disabilities begin even before birth, as errors in fetal brain development. If something goes wrong in the process in which the billions of nerve cells are formed, it may result in learning disability. The brain development is a delicate process, vulnerable to all disruptions. If disruptions occur, they may result in mental retardation, learning disabilities, and even death.

In some cases, learning disabilities tend to run in the families. Therefore, it is possible that certain genetic factors contribute to problems in learning. If this is the case, it is probable that a child inherits certain subtle brain dysfunctions. These dysfunctions result in learning disability.

Sometimes, the learning disability occurs as a result of mother’s irresponsible behaviors and lifestyle during pregnancy. Mothers who smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs may pass these toxins directly to the developing fetus. While there is no known safe amount of alcohol to consume in pregnancy, excessive drinking is associated with a fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition that results in low weight, intellectual impairment and physical defects in children.

Sometimes, learning disabilities may result from problems during pregnancy or delivery. This may happen, for example, if during the delivery child becomes deprived of oxygen. Other possible causes include toxins in the child's environment, during the first year of life.

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