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What are Learning Differences?

Learning differences are neurological differences that affect how the brain receives, processes, stores and responds to information. Approximately 6-8% of school-age children have learning differences, which continue throughout adulthood. This applies to children of at least average intelligence who struggle to acquire the basic academic skills needed for success at school and work. Learning differences do not reflect lack of motivation or intelligence. Some of the most creative and famous people in all walks of life credit their success to the perspective they gained from minds that see the world through a different lens. But just as left-handed people have to adapt to a right-handed world, people with learning differences need to develop strategies to navigate a world defined around a more normative range of skills.*


Attention deficit disorder affects 3-5% of children. Inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are common characteristics that interfere with students' ability to concentrate and learn.


What are the red flags?

It is important to remember that children display one or more of these characteristics from time to time, and this is common to childhood developmental stages. However, if you see several of these characteristics over a long period of time, you may want to consult a professional to determine if your child has a diagnosed learning difference.

  • Difficulty rhyming words

  • Trouble learning numbers, letters, days of the week, etc.

  • Easily distracted, impulsive

  • Immature social behavior

  • Difficulty following directions

  • Organizational difficulties

  • Difficulty learning letter/sound relationships

  • Trouble with math concepts, such as counting coins and telling time

  • Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork

  • Makes consistent letter and number reversals

  • Poor memory skills, often forgetful, and loses personal belongings

  • Poor recall of facts and difficulty learning new skills

  • Difficulty sitting still and constantly in motion

  • Spelling and writing difficulties

  • Avoids reading and has difficulty with comprehension

  • Struggles with completion and accuracy of homework assignments

  • Lack of planning and poor self-monitoring

  • Trouble focusing in class and on assignments

  • Inconsistent academic performance

  • Difficulty learning a foreign language


*The above information was taken from Hill Learning Center, Durham's website. Hill Learning Center is a leading academic resource for helping children with learning differences, and the program after which The Hill School of Wilmington is modeled. For more information on the Hill Learning Center, please visit their website at

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