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Girl with Braids

Learning Disabilities


The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and the BC Association of School Psychologists define learning disabilities as a term that refers "to a number of conditions that might affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information" (Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities, 6).   Learning disabilities are experienced by individuals with average or above average intelligence.

Types of Learning Disorders

Learning disabilities can occur in any of the following areas: mathematics, writing, reading, spelling, auditory processing, visual processing, sensory integration, organizational, or social cue.


Shawna's Breakdown of the Definition

  By definition, kids with learning disabilities have average to above-average intelligence.  That means that they are bringing a lot to the table.  This is why it is shocking for the learning disabled student (and their parents) when the child's academic performance is far lower than what one would expect.  The problem is not that the student is not smart; the problem is that the student has a brain-based learning difference.  Although the condition is lifelong, excellent teaching and proven remediation programs can remove the gap between ability and performance so that the student can become a successful in their areas of academic challenge.  My work as a dyslexic reading remediation teacher shows me that this is true.  Through the use of the Dyslexia Training Institute's program and Orton-Gillingham teaching methods, my students move from reading failure to reading fluency.  In addition, their writing skills increase dramatically.  A proven intensive, strategic reading intervention has the power to change the world for struggling readers and writers.  Without it, they will continue to struggle.  The work of Dr. Sally Shaywitz proves this fact.  She found that 74% of students who struggle with reading in grade 3, go on to struggle in this area in high school (Francis, Shaywitz, Stuebing, Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1996).

Works Cited

Audet, Shawna, director. How to Use Puppets to Teach Phonemic Awareness. YouTube, Flying Cat Academy, 6 Feb. 2021, Accessed 1 Jan. 2022.

Audet, Shawna, director. O-G Lesson Structure. YouTube, YouTube, 24 Feb. 2021, Accessed 1 Jan. 2022.

Audet, Shawna, director. Phonemic Awareness. YouTube, YouTube, 26 July 2021, Accessed 1 Jan. 2022.

Audet, Shawna. “Rockpile Spelling.” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Jan. 2019,

Crawford, Elizabeth. “Teaching All Students to Read: Practices from Reading First Schools with Strong Intervention Outcomes.” Reading Rockets, WETA, 7 Nov. 2013,

Ellis, Edwin S. “How Now Brown Cow: Phoneme Awareness Activities.” Reading Rockets, WETA, 2 July 2019,

IDA Board of Directors. “Definition of Dyslexia.” International Dyslexia Association, International Dyslexia Association, 16 July 2018,

Olsen, Jan. “Handwriting without Tears.” Learning Without Tears, Learning Without Tears, 30 June 2021,

RRFTS, director. 44 Phonemes. YouTube, Rollins Center for Language, 7 Nov. 2017, Accessed 1 Jan. 2022.

Shaywitz, Sally E.  Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level.  New York: A.A. Knopf, 2004. Print.

“What Is Jollyphonics?” Jolly Phonics, Jollyphonics Technologies, 2020,

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