Definition of Specific Learning Difficulties

Definition of Specific Learning Difficulties

Specific learning difficulties refers to a whole spectrum of problematic behaviors in learning. The American Psychiatric Association defines specific learning difficulties as:


"Specific learning difficulties can generally be diagnosed during infancy, childhood or adolescence. There are 3 main categories if classified by the nature of the difficulties: learning disorder, motor skill disorder and communication disorder (see table1). The more common types of specific learning difficulties are: specific learning difficulties in reading and writing, or dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysphasia, etc., and among them, dyslexia is most common. (APA, 1994)"

Specific learning difficulties include:
Learning disorder:
  • Reading disorder (dyslexia)
  • Mathematics disorder
  • Disorder of written expression

Motor skill disorder:
  • Developmental coordination disorder

Communication disorder:
  • Expressive language disorder
  • Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder
  • Phonological disorder
  • Stuttering