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21 disabilities under RPWD 2016 – Specific Learning Disabilities

As part of series on the 21 disabilities included under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016 , today we talk about Specific Learning Disabilities. Learning difficulties are related to ability of person to learn, write and study. These are not intellectual impairments. Specific Learning Disabilities refer to difficulty in one academic area while the person does well in other areas of academic, sporting or artistic achievement. A person who is not able to write, may still be good at reading and calculations and other academic skills. Specific Learning Disabilities are also called Learning Disorders, Learning Disabilities or Academic Skill Disorders. Some of the Learning disabilities are

  1. Auditory Processing Disorder- Not being able to recognize differences between sounds in speech.
  2. Dyslexia -The most common specific learning disability that causes difficulty in the area of reading and spelling.
  3. Dyscalculia- Causes difficulties in the understanding of numbers and learn math concepts.
  4. Dysgraphia- Affects the ability to write and fine motor skills.
  5. Language Processing Disorder- Not being able to understand language and meaning of words in a speech.
  6. Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities- Not being able to interpret facial expressions or body language and may have poor coordination.

What are the causes

Despite years of study and research, there is still a lack of exact information about the reason for Learning Disabilities. However, in some cases, the LD can occur due to the following.

  • Heredity and genes can cause learning disabilities if the parents or other relatives have similar difficulties.
  • Problems during pregnancy and birth can cause the learning disabilities if the brain development is affected while the baby is in the womb.
  • Accidents after birth such as head injuries, malnutrition, or by toxic exposure to heavy metals or pesticides can also have an impact.


Psychiatrists, school and clinical psychologists, educators can help in detecting and identifying the LD. The classroom performance, social interaction and aptitude and behavior of a student can also be observed for information.

The signs of LD can appear at an early age such as preprimary or primary levels. The child may have difficulty learning the alphabet, problems with following directions, writing issues or misreading math problems. These can be some possible indicators of a specific learning disability.

Each child can learn. Some just need to be taught a little differently.- Radha Tandon, Director PRAANGAN Centre for children with special educational needs.

Challenges and Early Intervention

For children it can become very stressful if they are not able to perform at the same level as their friends. If the issue is not identified the child fails to get timely help and guidance and can lose precious time.

In many cases children with LD are labelled as lazy and careless, causing further damage to their morale and self-esteem. It is vital that teachers observe and identify the problems that a student may face repeatedly in class. Parents should also be aware about the child's performance at different aspects of academic life.


People and children with LDs can be taught strategies to cope or deal with their specific disabilities. Therapy and special education programs can help the child learn and master the LDs.

This can be done by identifying the child's strengths and developing ways to use them in the best way to enhance learning. Technology, guidance, special tools and learning methods have proven to be effective in meeting the challenges posed by LD.

A buddy system can also help the kids learn and interact with other students. Getting help from peers can go a long way in motivation and development of the children. -Sneha Kuryan Reddy, Parent

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