Learning disabilities or disorders (LDs) are umbrella terms for a wide variety of learning issues. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation and kids with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or dumb. In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently — and this difference affects how they receive and process information.

Around one in ten children are affected by a LD. They are extremely common, in people of all ages, and can impact a person’s ability to learn, process information, perform certain cognitive tasks, and successful functioning in life.

Learning disabilities are very treatable. Because the brain is changeable, or neuroplastic, — especially in childhood — the brain can be taught new ways to function which reduce or alleviate learning challenges. Even older brains can show great improvement.

The Most Common Learning Disabilities

It’s important to recognize that having an LD is not a reflection of a person’s intelligence. A child or adult with a LD can be highly intelligent but have challenges processing information because of brain differences. How the brain is wired physically and functionally determines how someone processes information and how effectively the parts of their brain work together to coordinate functioning and learning in daily life.

The most frequent learning disabilities are below. Any of these conditions may become evident in childhood, or they may appear in adulthood as the result of damage to the brain.

Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP):

ADP is where the brain has trouble processing and interpreting sounds. A person is unable to recognize and understand certain differences between words and sounds despite having the ability to hear them correctly. Other issues may include having trouble processing and interpreting the order in which sounds are heard, where the sounds are coming from, and difficulty screening out unrelated sounds.


Dyslexia involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). For example, the order of letters in a word or words in a sentence may appear reversed, impacting reading comprehension, writing, recalling information from a text, spelling, and even speech. Also called a reading disability, dyslexia is a result of individual differences in areas of the brain that process language.


Dyspraxia is where the brain has difficulty with muscular control, causing problems with coordination, movement, language, and speech. This disorder is not technically considered a LD, however it can have a large impact on learning. There are four types of dyspraxia:

    • Verbal (oromotor) dyspraxia – speech.
    • Constructional dyspraxia – this has to do with spatial relationships.
    • Ideational dyspraxia – affects the ability to perform coordinated movements in a sequence.
    • Ideomotor dyspraxia – affects organizing single-step tasks.

Dyspraxia and apraxia are often used interchangeably. The difference between the two is severity, with apraxia being the most severe.


Fine motor skills are affected which directly impact a person’s ability to write in dysgraphia. This often shows up as issues with writing such as allowing enough space to write, writing legibly, spacing of words and letters, spelling challenges, and the inability to think and write simultaneously.

kid student struggling with class work


In dyscalculia, the brain has trouble processing numbers and math symbology, making math very difficult to learn and understand . A person may struggle to memorize and organize numbers, and have difficulty counting and telling time.

Executive Function Disorder:

In this disorder, the brain is unable to manage tasks efficiently, affecting planning, organization, attention, memory, and time management. This disorder makes learning, completing assignments, and taking exams very challenging.

Language Processing Disorder (LPD):

This type of Auditory Processing Disorder creates difficulties for students when attaching meaning to sounds of certain words, making comprehension of sentences and stories difficult. LPD can negatively impact a student’s ability to express ideas verbally as well as taking in new verbal information.

Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities:

This is where the brain has difficulty with motor, visual-spatial, and social skills, making it difficult to interpret nonverbal cues like body language or facial expression. Someone with this disorder may also exhibit poor physical coordination.

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit:

Here the brain has trouble comprehending visual information, which makes writing, drawing, and copying very difficult. Some signs include poor hand/eye coordination and missing subtle differences between shapes and letters.

Neuroplasticity Allows the Brain to Change Operation

Because the brain is very changeable, or neuroplastic, in childhood, the brain can be taught new ways to function which reduce or even alleviate learning challenges. Even older brains can show great improvement.

Neuroplasticity is an umbrella term referring to the various capabilities of your brain to change, reorganize, and grow, both physically and functionally, in response to input from your environment, behavior, and internal experiences. The concept of a changing brain replaced the long-held belief that the adult brain was a physiologically static organ or hard-wired, after critical developmental periods in childhood.

We now know that your brain changes from birth until death. Throughout your life, your brain is constantly forming new connections and generating new brain cells in response to your experiences and learning. Neuroplasticity is how all learning and memory take place.

Neuroplasticity also allows for new innovative methods of helping remedy learning disabilities that take advantage of the brain’s ability to change. Technology can precisely identify problematic brain areas and operation and guide neuroplastic change to optimize functionality in ways that improve learning disabilities and other neurologic and mental health issues.

Neurofeedback Guides Neuroplastic Brain Change

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a type of biofeedback training that involves real-time monitoring of brainwave activity and providing feedback to an individual in real-time to teach their brain, through operant conditioning, to self-regulate and optimize brain function. For a more in-depth explanation, go here.

brain neural network, braintraining

Neurofeedback is a superior option for improving learning disorders because it changes the way the brain operates, including optimizing brain wave amplitudes, enhancing connectivity between different parts of the brain, and adjusting levels of activity and responsiveness of specific brain regions. An initial qEEG brain map shows exactly where the brain is not functioning optimally, and one of our Grey Matters brain advocates will customize a training plan specifically to address the problems affecting that person’s brain.

Specifically, here’s how neurofeedback helps with learning disabilities:

  1. Brainwave Regulation:

    Neurofeedback trains individuals to regulate their brainwave patterns. For example, it may target increasing beta brain waves associated with focus and attention or decreasing theta waves associated with daydreaming.

    People with learning disabilities often show atypical patterns of brainwave activity. Neurofeedback can normalize these patterns to improve attention, concentration, and cognitive processing.

  2. Enhanced Cognitive Function:

    By promoting self-regulation of brainwave activity, neurofeedback contributes to enhanced cognitive function. This could include noticeable improvements in memory, information processing speed, and executive functions — all of which are essential for learning.

  3. Attention and Focus Improvement:

    Learning disabilities often involve challenges with attention and focus. Neurofeedback training helps people strengthen their brain’s ability to sustain attention on tasks and resist distractions, which are crucial for learning.

  4. Reduced Anxiety and Stress:

    Learning disabilities can cause stress and anxiety, which can further impair cognitive function. Neurofeedback helps reduce stress and anxiety at the root cause, in the brain. A relaxed brain learns better.

  5. Neuroplasticity Enhancement:

    Neurofeedback guides and influences neuroplasticity. By encouraging specific adaptive changes in precise locations and pathways, it promotes more efficient and effective information processing.

  6. Individualized Treatment:

    Neurofeedback protocols (training plans) can be customized based on an individual’s specific brainwave patterns and learning challenges. This personalized approach is beneficial in addressing the needs of each person and their unique learning issues.

The Science Shows Neurofeedback Is Successful

Neurofeedback has shown to be successful in improving learning disabilities, eliminating unwanted symptoms, and allowing better academic performance. In one study using neurofeedback on people with LDs, researchers determined:

“We found improved academic performance and self-concept in children with LDs who received NFB treatment. This study is an important exploratory step in studying a relevant treatment that seems to ameliorate symptoms of LDs such as anxiety and low self-concept.”

In other research, scientists checked in with people who had had undergone neurofeedback training two years earlier for LDs, and the study concluded:

“In a control paired group, treated with placebo, behavioral changes were not observed and the smaller maturational EEG changes observed were easily explained by increased age. Two years later, the EEG maturational lag in Control Group children increased, reaching abnormally high theta Relative Power values; the absence of positive behavioral changes continued and the neurological diagnosis remained LD. In contrast, after two years EEG maturation did continue in children who belonged to the Experimental Group with previous neurofeedback training; this was accompanied by positive behavioral changes, which were reflected in remission of LD symptoms.”


When a child has a learning disability, many parents think that therapy, counseling, or tutoring are the only solutions. These tactics can definitely help, but often, they yield only minimal improvements because the LD originates in the way the child’s brain is functioning. However, all of these practices can be highly beneficial after neurofeedback training when a person’s brain is processing information more efficiently, and the student can concentrate, comprehend, and establish new behaviors. At Grey Matters, we’ve seen children that have participated in therapies, counseling, and tutoring for years experience dramatic improvements after just a few months of neurofeedback training.

Adults and children who have trained at Grey Matters have reported reduced symptoms associated with learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, migraines, concussion, brain injury, stroke, addiction, gut issues, epilepsy, apraxia, OCD/PANS/PANDAS, COVID brain fog, chronic pain, and other physical, mental health, and neurological issues. Neurofeedback is a long-term, medication-free approach to optimizing brain function that allows you to live your best life. To find out more about how we can help you or someone you care about, call 317-215-7208 or send us a message today.