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Indicators for Possible Learning Disabilities

Examines indicators of possible learning disabilities for students who are blind or visually impaired

child feels shapes on object board

by Marnee Loftin and Cyral Miller, TSBVI

Handouts from the presentation “Students with Visual Impairments and Learning Disabilities”

Possible Learning Disabilities in Basic Reading

  • Difficulty in recognizing words out of context
  • Confusion of words with similar letters/sounds such a “pin” and   “pen”
  • Difficulty in reading similar words, often substituting another such as reading “on” for “no”
  • Problems with word-finding tasks
  • Problems with blending sounds
  • Problems with phoneme awareness
  • Problems with segmenting words into different sounds
  • Problems with decoding nonsense words according to phonetic rules
  • Reversals or inversions of letters 

Possible Learning Disabilities in Comprehension

  • Difficulty in determining relevant information
  • Little or no interest in reading for leisure
  • Difficulty with inferential questions
  • Difficulty with predicting

Possible Learning Disabilities in Written Expression

  • Handwriting is poor in relationship to predicted quality
  • Spelling that is incorrect and inconsistent within single bodies of writing
  • Overall quality of writing is far below that of expressive language both in vocabulary and content

Possible Learning Disabilities in Math Calculation

  • Difficulty processing language of mathematics
  • Trouble retaining math facts
  • Trouble keeping procedures in proper order (sequencing)
  • Poor mental math abilities
  • Difficulty keeping score when playing games
  • Inability to estimate in activities such as numeration of objects, cost of items, etc.
  • Slow to develop counting and math problem-solving skills
  • Difficulty recalling numbers in sequence

Possible Learning Disabilities in Math Reasoning

  • Difficulty reading numbers/symbolic representations
  • Frustration with specific computation and organizational skills
  • Trouble with time concepts (remembering schedules, estimating how long an activity will take)
  • Visual-spatial confusion in a variety of tasks
  • Difficulty identifying patterns as well as relating this to specific tasks such as sorting or categorizing
  • Poor sense of direction
  • Poor long-term memory of concepts that results in inconsistent performance of even basic operations
  • Difficulty playing strategy games like chess

Possible Auditory Processing Problems

  • Appears to have a selective hearing loss
  • Short attention span
  • Trouble remembering facts
  • Frequently asks to have things repeated
  • Confuses the sequence of words, sounds or task presented orally
  • Trouble distinguishing one sound from another
  • Has difficulty recognizing a word when only part is given
  • Does not seem to gain meaning from oral information
  • Difficulty in hearing relations between sounds and words
A girl reading a page of braille

Reading for Everyone: Expanding Literacy Options

Collage of using the Wilson Reading System with students with visual impairments
Tips and guides

Using the Wilson Reading System® (WRS) to Help Students with Visual Impairments


Understanding Dyslexia in Children with Visual Impairments