The exact cause of learning disorders is unknown, but researchers state that it appears to be related to the differences in brain structure pertaining to the language area of the brain, according to the National Institutes of Health. Learning disorders tend to be present from birth and are often inherited.
Although there are no specific causes, there are risk factors associated with learning disabilities. The most common risk factor is family history, while less common factors are poor nutrition, severe head injuries, child abuse and pregnancy-related factors, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, as reported by Cleveland Clinic. Lead poisoning, central nervous system infections and cancer treatments are also potential risk factors.
A learning disorder is a permanent neurological condition that ranges from subtle to severe. It limits the brain's ability to store, process and produce information, and also affects the ability to read, speak, listen and write, according to Cleveland Clinic. As of 2015, an estimated 15 percent of children have learning disabilities.
There are no particular signs that directly prove a person has a learning disorder, although there are some common indicators, including trouble learning the alphabet and connecting letters to sounds, and repeating and pausing while reading out loud, explains MedicineNet. A limited vocabulary, misreading numbers, and trouble expressing ideas in writing are also indicators of a learning disorder.