Stereotypes of Individuals with Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities may refer to a sum of conditions, which affect the acquisition, understanding, organization, retention, and use of verbal or nonverbal information (May & Stone, 2010). Learning disabilities are different from universal intellectual insufficiency. The author is keen to highlight the various stereotypes that fill the minds of many whenever they hear about learning disabilities or rather persons with learning disabilities. These stereotypes include drug abuse; Drug abuse is said to alter the normal thinking of a person and leave them unable to encode or decode the information properly. Society has a negative perception towards learning disabilities, making those that suffer from the condition suffer emotional trauma. In schools, students with learning disabilities face significant discrimination from both their teachers and their fellow students. Academic success for people with learning disabilities is still a matter of discussion around the world. Some people still believe that learning disabilities are related to low cognitive skills and intellectual abilities.

People around the world believe that people with learning disorders have low intelligence levels. Research shows that learning disabilities do not always indicate low intelligence. In fact, some students with learning disabilities perform better in academics in comparison to their counterparts once exposed to the right learning conditions. Teachers and education instructors discriminate against children with learning disabilities and offer them fewer challenges in learning (May & Stone, 2010). As a result, students with learning disabilities end up with lower grades than their counterparts not because they cannot synthesize information but because of the teacher’s attitude. In other cases, people with learning disabilities lack ideal job opportunities because of the perception that they possess a low IQ.

Most people with learning disabilities believe that learning disability is a fixed trait. The societal attitude towards this group of people affects their self-esteem thus making them believe that their condition is irreversible. However, research indicates that people with learning disabilities tend to advance as they continue to accept their condition and the possibility of a better future. Societal acceptance also plays a great role in improving the negative perceptions that people with learning disabilities have regarding their condition. Teachers and health educators have a duty to play in ensuring that students with learning disabilities fit in society. Allowing students with learning disabilities to interact with their counterparts openly and freely enhances the development of the disabled child (May & Stone, 2010). Educators can embrace this approach in teaching by conducting teaching lessons in a normal classroom setup. The approach makes the students with learning disabilities feel normal, thus improving their chances to succeed in society.

The result however was consistent with previous findings on this topic. According to May & Stone (2010), for success, individuals with learning disabilities need early identification and opportune dedicated assessments. Interventions involving home, school, community, and workplace settings also go a long way in improving the livelihood of people with learning disabilities. Effective intervention, however, requires instructors to be more specific to each student’s needs. People with a learning disability differ from one another and the level at which the educator understands the individual problem determines the success of the student. People with learning disabilities often indulge in illicit acts for many reasons. The rejection of society makes them vulnerable to peer pressure and bad influence. For this reason, there is a need to demystify the perceptions related to learning disability for a better society.


May, A. & Stone, C. (2010). Stereotypes of individuals with learning disabilities: views of college students with and without learning disabilities. J Learn Disabil 43(6), 483- 499.

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