Is Autism a Learning Disability?

Instructor: Allison Camps

Allison has taught in elementary school inclusion classrooms and has her master's degree in Special Education.

This lesson will define autism spectrum disorder. It will also provide you with the characteristics associated with the disorder. Finally, this lesson will answer the question: ~'Is autism a learning disability?~'

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (autism) is a developmental disability where individuals have social, communication and language problems that interfere with their everyday interactions. Autism usually is apparent in a child by the time he/she is three years old. The term spectrum means that there are varying severity levels within the autism spectrum disorder. For example, Asperger Syndrome is considered to be on the high functioning end of the spectrum.

Common Behaviors of an Individual with Autism

  • Difficulty with understanding others' feelings
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Problems compromising when playing with others
  • Trouble understanding gestures (waves, high fives, etc.)
  • Difficulty understanding and following directions
  • Difficulty engaging in conversations
  • Trouble with transitions
  • Ultrasensitivity to sound or touch
  • Undersensitivity to pain
  • Limited and/or hyper-focused interests

Is Autism a Learning Disability?

In order to answer this question, it is important to first define a learning disability. A learning disability is a neurological disability that affects the way an individual's brain is wired. It affects the way a person stores, processes and produces information.

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