General Concepts of Learning Disorder (DSM-IV) and the changes presented by DSM-5 Specific Learning Disorder

At during the month of January we will address the subject of Specific Learning Disorder (term designated by the APA in DSM-5), with the aim of having a greater understanding of what happens in the world of children who have been diagnosed by a specialized professional in the health area, since they have adequate knowledge and tools designed for this purpose, it is important to start reflecting and leave some notes of elements that help to put it in order, in such a way that the accompaniment that it is done is calm, responsible and especially with understanding and tolerance towards the child.

Even today in some Educational Institutions and even parents they are heard talking about the Learning Disorders that their children have, well taking this need into account we want to review this topic showing a little the history and changes that have been had, looking at some state of the art on the references that were previously of the DSM-IV in the section on learning disorders, but we also want to show the changes had with the DSM-5 and which we will work on during the month. Well, let’s first determine the difference between learning difficulties and learning disorders (called the latter by the DSM-IV) where (Itzel Graciela Galán-López, 2017) make a distinction between the two indicating that learning difficulties They are linked to psychological, family, social or economic factors, while learning disorders are neurobiological in nature and will be present throughout the life course of the person who has it.

We take as references for this document the following authors (Solis, 2019) refer that learning disorders (LD) are neurodevelopmental disorders that result from complex biological and environmental interactions together with the presence of protective factors, these persist throughout of the life. It highlights the importance of intervening with children in a timely manner so that there are no negative repercussions in their school stage, and other dimensions of their life, generating frustration, low self-esteem and possible school dropout due to their demotivation, Vicente Moreno also refers to these disorders they are modified according to the evolutionary moment and the age of the child. (Zuleta, 1991) Learning disorders can be defined as significant difficulties that a child presents during school education that corresponds to her age. Finding here an approach between the authors where they all agree that the stage where the learning disorder of children is detected is in the school stage and that this hinders their learning process, for that reason the importance of being detected, intervened and accompanied on time. (Benavides, 2016) there are multiple definitions of learning disorders, there is no agreement with the designation of the problem. It continues to tell us that a disorder consists of a delay, alteration or delayed development in one or more of the processes of speech, language, reading, writing, arithmetic or other school subjects as a result of a psychological handicap (difficulty) caused by a possible dysfunction brain and / or emotional or behavioral disorders. They also refer that Learning Disorders are considered as alterations at the level of one or more school areas. With the above, we can see how the meaning of learning disability disorders is not yet universally unified. (León, 2011) the etiology of learning disorders, although unknown, is presumably related to slow maturation, dysfunction or injury to the cortical or other cortical areas related to these specific processing functions. He goes on to say that there is no reason to presume that each disorder is related to a unique pathological mechanism. Learning disorders involve deficits in the learning and performance of reading, writing, and calculating. (Romeu, Sáez, & Escobar, 2010) refer that learning disorders (LD) constitute the first reason for consultation in primary care in child and adolescent psychiatry and are also considered the first cause of school failure, they are of multicausal etiology, of Thus, they are associated with a series of biological, psychological and socio-environmental factors that somehow negatively influence the normal cognitive development of children. (Mariana Gordillo Morales & García, 2018) Learning disorders are considered part of developmental disorders and refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders that manifest themselves in significant difficulties in school performance specifically in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics and understanding of semantic-academic information learning. All agree that the specific nature of these disorders is still not fully understood, in the studies that have been seen it can be observed that it may be due to subtle dysfunctions of the central nervous system. (Ernestina, 2015 -2016) indicates that learning disorders are a difficulty that is presented as an important fact that constitutes a biological problem that not only can be caused by this, but also by some other factor that the student may present due to an alteration of the central nervous system characterized by poor performance in the learning process and the problem can be external and internal. Despite the changes presented, the contributions of these professionals have been fundamental and have served as support for what is currently available.

Now, (Gutiérrez, 2017) refers that the consultation guide of the DSM-5 criteria (American Psychiatric Association APA, 2013), recognizes specific learning disorders as difficulties in learning and in the use of skills academic, evidenced by the presence (…) of symptoms that have persisted for at least 6 months, despite interventions aimed at difficulties ”. They refer to the fact that in recent years there has been an increase in research confirming the presence of alterations in the typical functioning of the central nervous system, in those cases that present learning disorders; They also refer that learning difficulties can be due to a deficit that affects synaptic connections and neural connectivity, and they also emphasize that learning is the result of activity in the cerebral cortex, especially in higher areas.

It is important to note that the DSM-5 Manual (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) groups the disorder related to reading (dyslexia) and mathematics (dyscalculia) under the same group Specific learning disorder.

Today’s topic was to get closer to the different investigations and theories over the years, and the changes that took place, during the month we will be reviewing each of the specific learning disorders in detail.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on


Benavides, R. C. (2016). Desarrollo de los trastornos de aprendizaje en el niño. Ediciones Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia.

Ernestina, M. L. (2015 -2016). Incidencia de los trastornos de aprendizaje de la lecto escritura en el desempeño académico de los estudiantes de la educación básica elemental de la unidad educativa. Guayaquil.

Guitierrez, J. A. (2017). Neurobiología de los trastornos del aprendizaje y sus implicaciones en el desarrollo infantil: propuesta de una nueva perspectiva conceptual. Revista virtual de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas Psicoespacios.

Itzel Graciela Galán- López, S. L.-M.-A. (2017). Abordaje Integral en los trstornos del neurodesarrollo. Rev. Hosp. Juan , 19-25.

León, S. V. (Octubre de 2011). La importancia de la clasificación y diferenciación de los problemas o trastornos del aprendizaje. Guatemala.

Mariana Gordillo Morales, H. J., & García, M. A. (2018). Fluidez verbal en niños con trastorno de aprendizaje. México.

Romeu, B. S., Sáez, Z. M., & Escobar, M. R. (2010). Factores de riesgo asociados a trastornos en el aprendizaje escolar: un problema sociomédico. Revista Electrónica de las Ciencias Médicas en cienfuegos Medisur.

Solis, V. M. (2019). Diseño Universal para el aprendizaje (DUA) estrategias neuropsicológicas. Bogotá, Colombia: XVII Congreso Colombiano y XIII Internacional de Neuropedagogía y Neuropsicología.

Zuleta, A. L. (1991). Introducción al Congreso: Los trastornos del aprendizaje. V Congreso Nacional.

American Psychiatric Association (2014). Manual Diagnóstico y Estadístico de los Trastornos Mentales (DSM-5) 5a Editorial Madrid: Editorial Médica Panamericana.

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