Chapter 8. Learning Disorders

Arlene R. Young, Ph.D.; Joseph H. Beitchman, M.D.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585622986.252472



Learning disorders are, by definition, heterogeneous as they reflect unexpected failure in distinct academic areas. Disorders in reading, written expression, and mathematics are specific types of learning disorder (LD) as defined by the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association 2000). While comorbidity across learning disorders is notably high, treatments typically target the particular features of each specific type of LD. Nevertheless, a review of the literature indicates that there are guiding principles for treatment that apply to all areas of LD. In this chapter we begin with a discussion of these general guidelines, then describe treatments for specific types of LD, and finally describe the implications of disorders often comorbid with LD. Whereas most academic interventions will take place within the school system or through specialized programming available elsewhere, this chapter focuses on what has been shown to work and what characteristics specific to LD can be effectively targeted for intervention.

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