Assessing Current Theories of Cerebral Organization
Because of the remarkable diversity of disorders subsumed under the label learning disability, a unitary definition of or causal explanation for the dysfunction is not possible. Learning disability is a global label covering overlapping categories of individuals with neurological impairment, specific language and reading disability, and personality problems. (Although it is certainly the case that severe reading disability causes emotional and personality problems in some children, it is also the case that emotionally handicapped youngsters are frequently diagnosed as learning disabled because their emotional problems interfere with their ability to learn.) Recently, in recognition of this problem, researchers have been more careful about operationally defining their experimental samples. Subsequent discussion focuses on that category of individuals operationally defined as suffering specific language and reading disability and in whom emotional problems and/or other specific disabilities (e.g., hyperactivity) are notthe primary cause of their learning difficulties. Henceforth, the term learning disabled (LD) is used to mean this more narrowly defined group.