Boise Psychological Services

Learning Disabilities

What is a Learning Disability?

Learning DisabilitiesUnlike blindness or deafness, a learning disability is a hidden disorder. LD affects people's ability to interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. LD covers a wide range of problems. It includes Attention Deficit Disorders, Dyslexia, and difficulties with academic areas such as reading, spelling, math, and writing. LD includes auditory processing and language development problems. People with learning disabilities often become disillusioned with school at a young age. Even though they are intelligent, they realize they are not doing well academically. They may have one strong area, such as mathematics, but have a weak area, such as reading or spelling. They may good at music, art, or athletics, but poor in academic areas.

Some Symptoms of a Learning Disability

  • Problems with attention and concentration
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Shifting from one uncompleted activity to another
  • Losing things necessary for a task
  • Making lots of clicks, whistles, and other sounds
  • Having a "defeatist" attitude about academics
  • Feeling "dumb"
  • Difficulties with math, reading recognition, reading comprehension, spelling, writing, drawing, and other subjects
  • Difficulty remembering what you hear
  • Difficulty remembering what you see
  • Poor language development
  • Giving up easily on academic tasks
  • Not reading for pleasure


What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia means "reading problem". There are different types of dyslexia including poor reading comprehension, poor sight reading, poor fluency, light sensitivity problems, poor phonetic skills, reversing words ("saw" for "was"). Spelling and writing skills may be affected.

A unique form of dyslexia is called Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS). SSS may include some (or) should be (of) the following symptoms:

  • ChildrenSkipping words or lines when reading
  • Re-reading lines
  • Losing your place when reading
  • Easily distracted when reading
  • Need to take frequent breaks when reading
  • Reading becoming more difficult the longer you read
  • Headaches when reading
  • Eyes become red or watery
  • Getting tired easily when reading
  • Blinking or squinting frequently when reading
  • Preferring to read in a dim light because bright lights hurt your eyes
  • Reading with face close to the page
  • Using your finger or marker when reading
  • Becoming restless, active or fidgety while reading
  • Poor depth perception and clumsiness with escalators, stairs, ball sports or driving
  • Strain or fatigue from computer use
  • Sloppy or careless math errors
  • Misaligned numbers in columns

If a person has Scotopic Sensitivity they may be helped by using a colored plastic overlay to be placed on reading material or the use of colored filtered lenses.


What is an Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

It is a biologically based developmental problem that affects attention, activity, and impulse control. It may include hyperactivity (ADHD) or not (ADD). Many people with ADD or ADHD also have learning problems. Some people diagnosed with ADD or ADHD may actually have a different problem such as depression or bi-polar disorder which has similar symptoms to ADD or ADHD. That is why it is important to have a comprehensive evaluation and not just rely on questionnaires and interviews.

Child TestingSome Symptoms of ADD or ADHD

  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty waiting in games or in lines
  • Blurting out answers
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Shifting from one uncompleted activity to another
  • Talking excessively
  • Interrupting or intruding on others
  • Losing or misplacing things necessary for task completion
  • Engaging in physically dangerous activities
  • Not being able to sit for more than a few minutes
  • Body parts always moving
  • Quickly bored
  • Has to be doing things to occupy self while sitting
  • Reacting without thinking
  • Moody, unpredictable, quick to anger/cry
  • Argues and gripes about the rules. Wants to be the exception
  • Teases, mouthy, has to have the last word



Boise Psychological Services
913 So. Latah
Boise, Idaho 83705

Phone: 208.376.3546

Fax: 208.376.9792