20. Learning and Communications Disorders

  1. William M. Klykylo2 and
  2. Jerald Kay3
  1. Pamela A. Gulley

Published Online: 30 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119962229.ch20

Clinical Child Psychiatry, Third Edition

Clinical Child Psychiatry, Third Edition

How to Cite

Gulley, P. A. (2012) Learning and Communications Disorders, in Clinical Child Psychiatry, Third Edition (eds W. M. Klykylo and J. Kay), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119962229.ch20

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, 627 S. Edwin C Moses Blvd, P.O. Box 927, Dayton, OH 45401-0927, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 927, Dayton, OH 45401-0927, USA

Author Information

  1. 640 Concord Village Circle, Johnston, OH 43031, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 30 MAR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119993346

Online ISBN: 9781119962229



  • learning disability;
  • communication disorder;
  • reading;
  • writing;
  • expressive language disorder;
  • mixed receptive-expressive disorder;
  • phonological disorder;
  • stuttering


This chapter discusses learning disabilities and communication disorders, aspects of their clinical diagnosis, and their impact on a child's ability to function effectively in his or her environment. The term learning disability has been used in the educational field since the early 1970s. Much controversy has surrounded the definition and the diagnosis of children's learning problems, and the chapter initially focuses on the development of concepts and definitions, and their embodiment in law. The DSM-IV diagnostic categories of specific learning difficulties are reviewed, and each category is examined in greater depth – reading, mathematics, written language, and learning disorder not otherwise specified. Communication disorders are typically identified if a child exhibits slow development in either the expression or reception of language. Communication disorders are frequently linked with additional educational disorders. The DSM-IV categories are considered: expressive language disorder, mixed receptive-expressive disorder, phonological disorder, stuttering, and communication disorder not otherwise specified. The importance of an understanding of the comorbidity between distinct diagnostic categories is emphasized, since individuals with comorbid disorders respond differently to specific therapeutic approaches. Finally, we enumerate some basic principles that will help clinicians gather the information needed to make accurate diagnoses to guide the treatment of children with learning and language disorders.