Specific learning disability: a 5 year study from India


  • Shipra Singh Department of Psychiatry, Dr. R.M.L. Hospital and PGIMER, Delhi, India
  • Vishal Sawani Consultant Psychiatrist, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Mahesh Deokate Department of Psychiatry, Jagdale Mama Hospital, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
  • Saminder Panchal Department of Psychiatry MM Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Ambala, India
  • Alka A. Subramanyam 5Department of Psychiatry, B. Y. L. Nair Hospital and T. N. Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Henal R. Shah Department of Psychiatry, B. Y. L. Nair Hospital and T. N. Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Ravindra M. Kamath Department of Psychiatry, B. Y. L. Nair Hospital and T. N. Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India




ADHD, Comorbidity, Risk factors, Referral, Specific learning disability


Background: Specific learning disability (SLD) is an important cause of academic underachievement among children, which often goes unrecognized, due to lack of awareness and resources in the community. Not much identifiable data is available such children, more so in Indian context. The objectives of the study were to study the demographic profile, risk factors, co-morbidities and referral patterns in children with specific learning disability.

Methods: The study has a descriptive design. Children diagnosed with SLD over a 5 years’ period were included, total being 2015. The data was collected using a semi-structured proforma, (based on the aspects covered during child’s comprehensive assessment at the time of visit), which included socio-demographic aspects, perinatal and childhood details, scholastic and referral details, and comorbid psychiatric disorders.

Results: Majority of the children were from English medium schools, in 8-12 years’ age group, with a considerable delay in seeking medical help, were referred mostly by the teachers for academic issues. Most of them had all the three disabilities-dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. 38.56% of children had ADHD. Psychological maternal stress, developmental issues and various co-morbidities were accompanying in many cases, of which speech delay and fine motor issues were more in children having comorbid ADHD.

Conclusions: Awareness, early identification and referral to appropriate services is crucial to deal with the challenge of learning disability. Health professionals should look for early signs in routine visits of children and co-morbidities, particularly ADHD, should be adequately taken care of. Role of media and education system is crucial for its destigmatization in community. 


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Original Research Articles