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Learning Differences: Some Facts

What are some of the Learning Differences experienced by Edison students?

  • Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, also known as ADD/ADHD, is a condition that often co-occurs with learning disabilities. Features may include marked overactivity, underactivity, distractibility and/or impulsivity and inattention.
  • Dyslexia is primarily used to describe difficulty with language processing and its impact on reading, writing and spelling.
  • Dysgraphia describes the difficulty of expressing thoughts in writing and graphing.
  • Dyscalculia involves difficulty with math, the abstract concepts of time and direction, and sometimes the location of the numbers on the face of a clock and/or the geographic locations of streets, states, countries, oceans, etc.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD) is primarily used to describe difficulty with nonverbal information, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgement and social interactions.
  • Visual and Auditory Perception Disorders create difficulty with the process of recognizing and interpreting information received through the senses of sight and hearing.
  • Other neurobehavioral disorders, such as Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a neurological disorder characterized by persistent intrusion of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or the performance of actions, as repeated hand washing, that one is unable to stop (compulsions).

How Do Learning Differences Affect Students?

Learning disabilities interfere with the brain's ability to receive, store, process or produce information.

Mainstream high schools often lack the necessary resources to offer the specialized education that students with learning differences (LD) require. The long-term consequences impact not only those students with LD, but also society as a whole.

A 20-year study identified six key factors that differentiate successful LD students from unsuccessful LD students. They are:

  • Goal setting
  • Self-awareness
  • Perseverance
  • Emotional coping strategies
  • Support systems
  • Proactivity

The study determined that these characteristics "may have a greater influence on success than even such factors as academic achievement, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and even intelligence quotient (IQ)." At Edison, we actively work on all of these areas throughout the four years of high school. Learn more by reading "Life Success for Children with Disabilities: A Parent Guide," published by the Frostig Center.

What Does Success Look like?

At Edison High School, we have simple criteria for measuring the success of our students:

  • Graduation from high school
  • Attending a post-secondary institution and/or working full- or part-time
  • Gaining knowledge and tools that will help the student be able to both accept and advocate for themselves
  • Experiencing personal growth and success

Some Facts about Individuals with Learning Differences (LD):

Students with LDs are not alone! No matter where they go or what they do, they will encounter other people facing similar challenges.
  • In 2011, there were 2.4 million American public school students identified with learning disabilities.
  • 26,600 students in Oregon have learning disabilities. (State of Oregon report, 2014)

Learning to manage and cope with a learning difference is important for a young person, whether or not a family chooses Edison for high school. There is compelling evidence to seek out and acquire the information necessary to successfully manage life—academically, personally and professionally—with a learning difference. Please see our Resources page for local and national informational and support organizations for adults and students.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities published a comprehensive report in 2014 called The State of Learning Disabilities, Third Edition, 2014. Below are a few facts taken from it. To learn more, you can read/download the full report.

  • Students with learning differences have post-high school goals similar to students without LD. However, too few take an active or leadership role in planning for their transition from school. „
  • Students with learning differences are less likely to enroll in post-secondary programs than their nondisabled peers.
  • Students with LD earn lower grades and experience higher rates of course failure in high school than students without learning differences.