Seeking and Developing Talents in Patients With Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities: Definitions, Factors, Symptoms, and Outcomes

The phenomenon of a learning disability is, unfortunately, common in the contemporary environment. Although the impediments to acquiring basic knowledge and skills, as well as developing unique learning patterns, are very numerous, four key learning disabilities are isolated (Eboch, 2014). These include dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia (Kowaleski & Vanderheyden, 2015). However, over the past few years, several new approaches to identifying the concept of LD have emerged. For instance, some authors claim that any disorder that becomes an impediment to the learning process and does not involve any physical disability should be viewed as LD. Bergin and Bergin (2014) define LD as an intelligence achievement discrepancy, therefore, pointing to the differences between the acquisition of literacy skills by PLD and the rest of the population.

It should be noted that the current definition for PLD can be interpreted as one of the stumbling blocks on the way to understanding the needs of the target population. In other words, the emphasis on the disadvantages that the target population has, as opposed to the opportunities that they might have in learning, prevents nurses from creating the strategies that will help PLD acquire the necessary skills and knowledge successfully.

Disregarding the problems that PLDs have when acquiring knowledge and skills is barely the solution to the problem; a nurse must know the extent of her patients’ ability to perform specific actions. However, one must also keep in mind that PLD must not be viewed as unable to acquire any skills or incapable of possessing any talent. Quite on the contrary, the current approach must be geared toward searching for unique abilities and helping PLD develop these skills correspondingly.

Current Approaches to Identifying and Addressing the Needs of PLD

At present, the services of the people operating in the disability liaison network are actively promoted as one of the most efficient tools for managing the needs of PLD. On the one hand, the approach mentioned above can be deemed as rather sensible: it provides PLD with an opportunity to communicate with the rest of the community successfully without fearing that their message can be interpreted in the wrong way. On the other hand, the use of mediators during the communication process becomes a roadblock to the process of engaging PLD in community activities. As a result, the target audience feels isolated and unable to communicate successfully. Specifically, the lack of independence in the conversation-related activities can be viewed as the primary reason for developing an alternative approach to addressing the needs of PLD.

In other words, the nursing framework that is currently applied to managing the needs of PLD lacks the concept of involving the target audience in active participation in social activities, including basic communication with the rest of the community members (McArthur et al., 2015).

More importantly, it is necessary to introduce the target patients to modern tools that will help them navigate the communication process in the manner that they will find most comfortable and efficient. Therefore, a reconsideration of the approaches currently adopted to meet the needs of PLD is strongly recommended.

Tools and Strategies for Meeting the Needs of PLD: An Overview

As stressed above, the current focus in PLD needs management lies in the design of an elaborate network for communication between a nurse and a patient. Although the idea might seem rather sensible, it still requires further improvements. One must give the represent-day researchers credit for designing their approaches in a manner that invites numerous opportunities for creating a patient-centered approach. For instance, the fact that the current tools imply addressing inequalities existing in the relationships between PLD and the rest of the community (Hill, 2015) needs to be brought up as a significant piece of evidence. The identified strategy means that nurses struggle to help the patients become members of society.

However, the lack of focus on the unique properties of the patient’s mental abilities, in general, and the specifics of their information and skills acquisition process, in particular, is obvious in the present-day nursing environment. Being rather scanty, the present-day approaches restrict nurses to a set of tools that can hardly be used to challenge PLD to develop unique abilities and discover their talents.

Crossing Networks as an Innovative Tool in Addressing PLD’s Needs

Crossing networks is one of the innovative approaches that has been designed recently to approach the issue of PLD’s learning process. According to the existing definition, the framework implies that PLD should be invited to participate in the communication process with other patients. It should be borne in mind, though, that the concept of crossing networks was initially suggested as the means of inviting other patients with disabilities to participate in the communication with PLD. According to the existing definition, the concept of crossing networks suggests that the characteristics of patients with specific diagnoses should be reviewed after being combined. The process of viewing the frameworks which the target populations use when conversing may occur in an environment that involves live communication. However, due to the impediments, that most participants have, which make them feel unable to develop many skills, not to mention talents, the use of online tools as the means of connection between the participants must be considered a necessity.

Although the approach involving the process of crossing networks has a very heavy lean toward reinforcing patients’ independence, the role of a nurse is not to be dismissed as insignificant, either. According to a recent study, a nurse plays a crucial role of a coordinator in the process, offering PLD support in the situations that they are unable to handle on their own:

Several studies demonstrated the important role of sustained support by caregivers, support personnel, and professionals in facilitating positive outcomes of health promotion interventions, as well as showing the benefits of coupling an individualized needs approach exercise program with support. (Heller, Fisher, Marks, & Hsieh, 2015, p. 527)

Despite the fact that the current set of tools viewed as crucial in managing the needs of PLD can be defined as rather humble, the introduction of the crossing networks phenomenon should be considered a significant improvement. Moreover, the framework is bound to serve as a platform for designing a new and improved patient-centered approach.

Focus on PLD’s Talent Development and Location of Unique Abilities

Last but definitely not least, the idea of locating talents in PLD, as well as developing these talents, needs to be brought up as one of the foundational tools for the design of the framework in question. Surprisingly enough, the idea of PLD being unable to possess any outstanding skills, not to mention talents, in any area has been quite persistent in the realm of nursing and healthcare for quite a while. Even nowadays, PLDs are viewed as people that are extremely unlikely to have any talents or specific abilities. The reasons for the phenomenon under analysis to occur in the contemporary nursing setting can be attributed to the evident problems in the basic skills and information acquisition that PLD can be characterized by. However, the specified explanation does not excuse the lack of studies on the effects of talent-based interventions and the search for the unique abilities that will help PLD become active members of the community as well as converse with the members thereof successfully.

At present, the concept of the compensation strategy is used to address the talent-based approach to managing the needs of PLD exists (Tan, Hughes, & Foster, 2016). By definition, the compensation strategy suggests the identification of specific skills that PLD may have and the further fostering of skills development.

In addition, studies report that PLDs typically have a very poor self-concept due to the obvious differences in the learning process that they experience and that occurs to the rest of the learners. Therefore, studies also point to the need of applying the approaches that will help raise the students’ self-esteem, therefore, creating a foundation for PLD to locate and develop their strengths as far as the learning process is concerned. Even though the abilities demonstrated by the target audience may fail to meet the talent criteria, they will, nevertheless, serve as the basis for the patients to learn the necessary communication strategies faster.


Bergin, C. C., & Bergin, D. A. (2014). Child and adolescent development in your classroom. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Eboch, C. (2014). Living with dyslexia. Mankato, MN: ABDO Publishing Company.

Hill, R. (2015). Addressing inequalities. Learning Disability Practice, 18(8), 13.

Kowaleski, J. F., & Vanderheyden, A. M. (2015). The RTI approach to evaluating learning disabilities. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

McArthur, A., Brown, M., McKechanie, A., Mack, S., Hayes, M., & Fletcher, J. (2015). Making reasonable and achievable adjustments: the contributions of learning disability liaison nurses in ‘Getting it right’ for people with learning disabilities receiving general hospitals care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(7), 1552–1563. Web.

Tan, L., Hughes, C., & Foster, J. (2016). Abilities, disabilities and possibilities: A qualitative study exploring the academic and social experiences of gifted and talented students who have co-occurring learning disabilities. Journal of Pedagogic Development, 6(2), 30-42.