Learning Disabilities


There is no cure for a learning disability...


You do not outgrow it; but, it is never too late to get help.
Most people with learning disabilities learn to adapt to their learning differences,
and they learn strategies that help them accomplish their goals and dreams.


  • Learning disabilities are problems that affect the brain's ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information.
  • There are many kinds of learning disabilities. Most students affected by learning disabilities have more than one kind.  Certain kinds of learning disabilities can interfere with a person's ability to concentrate or focus and can cause someone's mind to wander too much.  Other learning disabilities can make it difficult for a student to read, write, spell, or solve math problems.

What Are the Signs of Learning Disabilities?
  • Learning disabilities typically first show up when a person has difficulty speaking, reading, writing, figuring out a math problem, communicating with a parent, or paying attention in class.
  • Some kids' learning disabilities are diagnosed in grade school when a parent or a teacher notices a student cannot follow directions for a game or is struggling to do work he or she should be able to do easily.
  • Other children develop sophisticated ways of covering up their learning issues, so learning disabilities don't show up until the teen years.

Dealing With a Learning Disability
  • Once an expert has pinpointed a person's particular problem, he or she can then follow strategies or take medicines to help cope with the disability. Some students who have been diagnosed with a learning disability work with a special teacher or tutor for a few hours a week to learn special study skills, note-taking strategies, or organizational techniques that can help them compensate for their learning disability.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a learning disability, you may need support just for the subjects that give you the most trouble. Your school may have a special classroom with a teacher who is trained to help students overcome learning problems.
  • Some schools develop what is called an Individualized Education Program (or IEP), which helps define a person's learning strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for the learning activities that will help the student do his or her best in school.
  • Medication is often prescribed to help some students, as with ADHD.
What You Can Do
  • Do not make assumptions without professional diagnosis.
  • Search for educational opportunities outside the traditional systems (internet, university continuing education workshops, summer programs through school districts, etc.).  Parents and teachers can explore different possibilities to evaluate children and adapt programs to their learning preferences.
  • Keep the emphasis on how we learn and process the information best—not disabilities. 

  • Teach children with learning disabilities about their family's histories.  Children with learning disabilities who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges."  (Source:  "The Stories That Bind Us," by Sara Duke, psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, The New York Times, March 2013)    (see the Family History topic on this site.) 
  • Recognize that each individual has different strengths and challenges.  Emphasize personal growth.  Promote individuals comparing themselves to themselves, rather than comparing themselves to other people. Find something the child does well—a talent, or an area where they excel.  
  • All disabilities can be tested (through the schools), but some schools lack the funding to test them.  There are many institutions which can assist in evaluations.  Search for educational opportunities outside the traditional systems (internet, university continuing education workshops, summer programs through school districts, etc.)
  • After a professional diagnosis, resources are available to address the specific needs of the individual.  
  • Offer respite care to the parents.
Local Organizations
Additional Resources
All Our Children
(509) 464-5595; (509) 464-5599 (fax)
Email: mailto:aoc@allourchildrenwa.org  
http://allourchildrenwa.org 
The Mission of All Our Children is to work in cooperation with public schools and other organizations to meet the needs of children with disabilities

College Support for Students with Disabilities
Outlines legal rights and where to find assistance on campus.
http://www.onlinecolleges.net/for-students/students-with-disabilities/

Eastern Assistive Technology Resource Center
(800) 214-8731 (V/TTY); (509) 328-9350 (V/TTY)
Email: mailto:Spokane@seals.org  
http://watap.org

Spokane County Parent Coalition
(a program of The Arc)
320 E. 2nd Avenue
Spokane, WA  99202
509-328-6326
(509) 328-6342 (fax)
(509) 252-1565 (TTY)
Lance Morehourse - Coordinator
Email: lance@spokaneparentcoalition.org  
http://www.arc-spokane.org/Parent_Coalition_copy
A network of about 1,500 parents in Spokane County supporting a child with an intellectual or developmental disability.  We offer information about resources in the community, education about matters that are important to families, a strong advocacy effort, and leadership training for parents, self-advocates, caregivers and others.

Spokane Guilds' School
(509) 326-1651; (509) 326-1658 (fax)
Spokane Guilds' School provides evaluation, assessment, and early intervention services for children birth to three with developmental delays.
Winston Center for Attention, Language and Learning
Central Office in the University District
528 E. Spokane Falls Blvd
Spokane, WA
(509) 465-1252
North Spokane Office
605 E. Holland Avenue, Suite 202
Spokane, WA  99218
(509) 465-1252
http://winstoncenter.com/A comprehensive evaluation treatment center for children and adults with learning disorders.  Winston Center offers psychiatric, psychological, mental health, and learning disability therapy and advocacy services.  The services include psychological evaluations, dyslexia advocacy, ADHD, family therapy for newly diagnosed children, language and learning intervention, and services to examine organizational development and executive functioning.