Learning disabilities

Learning disability is a general term which refers to a group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, writing, conceptualization and mathematical abilities. These disorders are internal and are attributed to neurological and genetic factors.

Learning disability is the most common disorder in the educational system. A student will be diagnosed with learning disability if he has a significant and constant gap between his academic achievements and his expected, age appropriate achievements or intellectual capabilities.

Studies have identified a series of cognitive indicators that can be identified in preschoolers’ drawings and handwritings that suggest first-grade preparedness. Drawings of children with learning disabilities will be characterized by different indicators such as:

  • Difficulties with receiving and filtering stimulations – you will be able to see that the drawing includes elements that are equally important, without any ability to prioritize and see the forest for the trees.
  • Hyperactivity – the drawing line and its movement will be stormy and restless. In addition, you may observe multiple elements and difficulty organizing them on the page.

Observing drawings is important in such cases mainly because you might get the wrong impression that the child is not performing his tasks well because he is spoiled or lazy. Interpretation of drawings usually shows the opposite – the child is active and lively, but it is hard for him to organize his drawing, so the outcome seems stormy, restless and lacking in clear structure.

Case study

This drawing which was made by a 7½ year-old is an example for the phenomenon we just discussed.

You can see that she finds it difficult to think on a multi-stage level and plan ahead. Although she draws elements such as a car and human figures, she has difficulty drawing them as objects that are made of several parts on an age-appropriate level.

Learning disabilities

Her final outcome seems poor, as represented by the flawed connections between organs and overall regressive drawing level. In addition, note her impulsive drawing style and the way she fills part of the elements, such as the human figure’s body or eyes.

Such a drawing style alone is does not indicate that she is not ready for first grade, but if combined together with other graphic indicators, may lead to such conclusion.

In this case, the girl was went to school, and at the same time a professional diagnosis of her learning disabilities was made, so that she and her teachers could find the most effective educational tools for her.


  • Analysis of the child’s drawings may provide a bird’s eye view of the child’s functioning, so it is recommended to keep them, so that an art therapist could use them as a basis for interpretation.
  • In many cases, learning disability does not only affect the educational aspect, but also social integration and general organization capabilities.
  • It is advised to check other physical issues that might lead to cognitive difficulties or restlessness, such as eyesight issues or chronic ear infections.
  • Pay attention whether you or a close relative have a similar issue. In some cases, learning disability is caused by a genetic factor.

Want to know more?

Our learning center will familiarize you with important tools and topics for understanding children’s drawings.


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