What is a learning disability?

Learning Disabilities Definition

According to the Title 5 (Section 56036 of Subchapter 1 of Chapter 7 of Division 6) regulations that govern the California Community Colleges, in accordance with the State Education Code and State and Federal legislative guidelines, the definition of a learning disability is as follows:

Learning disability is defined as a persistent condition of presumed neurological dysfunction which may exist with other disabling conditions. This dysfunction continues despite instruction in standard classroom situations. To be categorized as learning disabled, a student must exhibit:

a. average to above-average intellectual ability;

b. severe processing deficit(s);

c. severe aptitude-achievement discrepancy(ies); and

d. measured achievement in an instructional or employment setting.


The Boundaries of the Term "Learning Disabilities"

A student with a learning disability does not lack aptitude or ability, but is inhibited from demonstrating his or her true intelligence in at least one area of achievement (reading, writing or math) due to a severe processing deficit. Thus, learning disabilities should be distinguished from developmental delays in which the aptitude is below average. Learning disabilities are not caused by a lack of appropriate learning experiences in a standard classroom. Neither are learning disabilities caused by emotional difficulties, although many with ld may experience emotional difficulties as a consequence of academic struggles. However, learning disabilities may co-exist with other disabilities.


Here is another definition of Learning Disabilities from Curry School, Virginia (K-12).