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October 10, 1980

Learning Disabilities

JAMA. 1980;244(15):1674. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310150014014

To the Editor.—  The comments in the MEDICAL NEWS section (243:1883, 1980) entitled "Learning disabilities: lagging field in medicine" should do much to arouse primary care physicians to become concerned about this important group of childhood disorders, but the article unfortunately omitted salient information that would help physicians understand the problems learning-disabled children encounter in school.Learning disabilities represent the academic manifestations of neurodevelopmental immaturity1 and are often accompanied by other evidences of immaturity, such as behavioral problems called hyperkinetic impulse disorders and concentration problems called attention deficit disorders, a designation currently being promoted by behavioral scientists. This triad of involvement is embraced in the connotation of minimal brain dysfunction, a term originally proposed to replace the idea that brain damage, emotional maladjustment, or sociocultural deprivation were etiologic factors.Much needs to be learned about these children, but the following three facts are clear: boys outnumber girls six to