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does a learning disability ever just "get better"

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

just curious.  Our son has a pretty huge ld with reading comprehension that affects a lot of his learning.  I am just wondering if sometimes it just magically disappears.

post #2 of 10

Well, I can only speak for myself personally - but I couldn't really read until 4th grade with moderate dyslexia.  Even after that I struggled for many years.


Around 10th grade something clicked and I figured out how to read really fast and up my comprehension.  It just happened, I have no idea why, no one was helping me, I wasn't in therapy.  Now I have a PhD.  I still have the same issues and have to read in the way that works for me (digital will never work for me sadly) so it didn't just go away, but I definitely figured out how to effectively compensate.  Hope that helps!

post #3 of 10

The things I know are just anecdotal. Some LDs do seem to improve with time, maturity, and experience. I don't think things just magically disappear, but rather improve so they are just a weakness and not much of a "disability."


But I also know adults who never quite got their lives off the ground because an LD or weakness was never really figured out. I wouldn't bank on things just improving.


I think that the more widespread a problem is, the less likely that it will improve on it own. Has your child had a full neuro psychological evaluation?

post #4 of 10

Depending on the specific learning disability, what types of treatment are given, and especially the ability of the child to cope with it as they get older some do get much better. I wouldn't say they "disappear" though, even when it does get much easier for the child or adult to cope with they usually have a bit of a harder time than others in certain areas.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh, I used the word magic but I do know there is no such thing as magic.  He has been through the pscho ed assessments, he has an iep, he has tutoring, I have tried different supplements, he plays sports, he has had a sleep study done, We don't really have a treatment plan - I don't know where to go to do that?  he has started a new school this year who seems like they have a tonne of resources and we will be meeting in the next few weeks to get things going, and hopefully provide us with some help for home too.  He is in grade 4 this year and is already having a tough time. 

post #6 of 10

I agree with above posters.


Most of what I know is anecdotal. As kids age and/or become adults some learn to compensate or internalize strategies that help manage areas of weakness/LD.


For myself-- I have struggled with writing my entire life (the mechanics of getting pencil on paper in an organized fashion not the creative process) and likely would have qualified under the LD discrepancy model for mild/moderate written expression. That said- I struggled in school with written assignments.


As an adults, I have learned to adapt (writing is still my biggest weakness) so that is it not the onerous chore it once was. I type if possible and have someone proofread my work for assignments and papers. Spellcheck/GrammarCheck have been really wonderful tools for me to 'see' errors. Typing also helps since I can type faster than I can write and tend not to get quite as lost in the writing 'process'. Although, written work for college and post graduate work takes me longer than many.Writing/spelling will likely never come naturally, but it no longer has the huge impact on my life like it did in public school system.


Also due to my own experiences ( in addition to other events in my life that heavily influenced me), I went in to Special Education. I have learned a lot on how other people learn and ways the school system is set up.



Overall, I would say : It depends on a lot of factors.


But for a kiddo that struggles w/LDs in school- as an adult there are a lot of ways to work around it that simply are more difficult in the highly structured school setting. One former student that had a fairly severe reading disability has gone on to be successful at college using books on tape and taped lectures. He is an excellent theater student. He is able to memorize lines very quickly and excels in the college setting- which is something that was a bit of a struggle in public school.


Some students it just 'clicks' and others benefit from alternative teaching methods (Ortin-Gillingham for example) that allow them to learn more effectively for their learning style. Some kids continue to struggle with LDs in greater ways than others as they turn into adults. The severity of the LD and any other co-morbid conditions may also impact each individual. LDs are so very individual- it is hard to know kids outlook 10, 20, years from now.

post #7 of 10

It sounds like part of your question is "will this get better eventually?"  and I think the answer is yes. Given appropriate support and help (which you and the school are doing) it will get better. There are much better supports all the way through education than their used to be, and more understanding that having a LD doesn't mean that someone isn't bright. One of my friends has a son who is a senior in high school this year, and they are looking into colleges that have good supports for kids with LD's at the university level.


He isn't going to stay stuck exactly where he is. He will keep moving forward, even though progress may slow at times. hug2.gif

post #8 of 10

YoungSon, now 16, read at a 2nd grade level until 2 years ago. We tried every known approach and therapy, and he made little to no progress. 2 years ago, something clicked as they say, and today he reads at grade level, and even reads for pleasure. Jules Verne is his favorite author, and he read The Hunger Games. His handwriting is still pretty painful, but he has totally dropped his IEP. He also has ASD, sensory stuff, and anxiety issues, but the majority of his symptoms have disappeared or diminished. I think it is a combination of some issues resolving themselves, and his learning to cope with the remaining.


My mother's story is similar. As a child, she had such learning disabilities (plus deafness), all undiagnosed, (as this was in the 1920s and 30s) that she was considered mentally retarded. She dropped out of school at 12, totally illiterate. Many years and several ear surgeries later to partially restore hearing, she got 2 master's degrees and is still a voracious reader at 93! She never could write legibly, and has many quirks that are clearly neurological, but her life has not been limited. Do you see a family pattern here?

I have no predictcion or advice about your child, but I believe in magic!

post #9 of 10

DD1 is dyslexic (severe), in grade 4 and doing quite well this year. BUT it has been a very rocky road previously and we've spent thousands of dollars and hours to get her here. She had 5 hours a week of intensive academic language therapy (like a very expensive tutor almost) for 3 years year around to get her where she is now. When she was 6, she was not even able to recognize her own name. She does function in school right now but we have a lot of accommodations. She gets mostly Cs, and we are beyond thrilled that she is doing that well. We've already lined up a speciality middle school for her in two years, she has a guaranteed slot because I know that in order for her to be successful in school, we have to look outside the box. She already attends an alternative elem school because of the extensive accommodations she needs. 



Dh is also dyslexic. He reads at an elementary school level, maybe early middle school, but not any higher then that. He also qualifies for the Mensa so obviously 2E. DD1 doesn't quite have his same gifts. DH has turned into a highly successful adult, he operates a IT consulting firm in our area and makes enough to have other people handle his emails and reading for him. winky.gif

post #10 of 10

Yes.  I think sometimes we just learn to work around it.  I never had therapy, but some mods (i never had to write my assignments off the board, because what I copied never remotely resembled what was written there.  I lot of my writing issues disappeared when I started typing everything.  I can now write without thinking about it, but I only print since I never managed cursive.  My auditory memory has also become very good, so I will remember what was said.

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