All you need to know about Learning Disorders

“Study hard! You will be a CAPS level 7 student” – they say.

However, sometimes no matter how hard you study you still do not get the desired results and at most times you just never seem to make it. You are not doing anything wrong, it might just be a learning disorder. 

Learning disorders/disabilities are neurological. Best characterized by difficulty in reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and /or organizing information if left to figure out things on your own or if taught in conventional ways.

Learner disabilities

Children with learning disabilities are as smart or smarter than their peers, except they have the above-mentioned difficulties. Learning disabilities are life long and incurable. 

Learning disabilities often interfere with higher-level skills such as

  • organization
  • time planning
  • long and short term memory and
  • attention.

They have a great impact on one’s life beyond the classroom. They affect relationships with friends, family, and peers. CAPS teachers are most likely to pick up these disabilities as they deal with learners first hand in schools. Other individuals can go through life without knowing they have difficulties with either academics or personal relationships. 

Some Facts About Learning Disabilities 

  • Approximately 10-30 % of children have learning disabilities
  • Learning disabilities are more prevalent in boys than in girls
  • Difficulty with basic reading and language skills are the most common learning disabilities. As many as  80% of students with learning disabilities have problems with reading in CAPS. 
  • Learning disabilities often run in families. 
  • Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities such as autism, intellectual disability, blindness, deafness, and behavioral disorders 
  • Attention disorders, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities often occur at the same time, but these two disorders are not the same. 
boys than in girls

Some Of The Signs Indicative Of A Learning Disability 

  • Difficulty following verbal instructions
  • Problems with math skills
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Failure to finish tasks on time
  • Forgetting homework or assignments
  • Losing their place when reading or copying
  • Asking self-explanatory questions
  • An awareness of a mistake, but difficulty correcting it
  • Poor handwriting
  • Clumsiness 
  • Difficulty making choices, identifying main ideas from details 
  • Poor attention span

Learning Disabilities in CAPS

Dyslexia/Reading Disorder


A language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. How bad it varies within individuals, affects reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling, and sometimes speech and can coexist with other related disorders.


Dyscalculia CAPS

A mathematical disability in which a person has difficulty solving arithmetic problems and grasping math problems. They show poor comprehension of maths symbols, may struggle with memorizing and organizing numbers, problems telling time, or have trouble with counting.



A writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space. A learner is unable to produce legible handwriting in an appropriate length of time.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) / Central Auditory Processing Disorder


This condition negatively affects how sound that travels unimpeded through the ear is processed or interpreted by the brain. Affected individuals do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words even when sounds are audible enough to be heard. They have a hard time locating the source of a sound, to make sense of the order of sounds, or to block out competing for background noises.

Language Processing Disorder (LPD)

Language Processing Disorder CAPS

Relates to the processing of language. Affects expressive language and or receptive language. It is a specific type of APD in which there are difficulties attaching meaning to sound groups that form words, sentences, and stories.

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit


A disorder that affects the understanding of information that a person sees, or the ability to draw or copy even though they appear to have normal vision. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing space frequently, struggles with cutting, holding the pencil too tightly, and or poor eye/hand coordination.

Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities (NLD)


A neurological disorder that originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions.

• Group or individual remedial lessons
• Occupational Therapy for children with NLD
• Physiotherapy for NLD and motor disabilities
• Speech and Language therapy for children with LPD and APD
• Homework tutors to assist with individual homework sessions


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