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"When I was in my early years (first through fifth grade) learning disabilities were an unknown entity. Those of us that had these problems were simply viewed as unintelligent, and from my perspective the greatest sadness was that we viewed ourselves the same way....I was told that I couldn’t go to medical school, that I couldn’t be a doctor."

– Fred Epstein, M.D. - pioneer in pediatric brain surgery and author of If I Get To Five - What Children Can Teach Us About Courage & Character; had dyslexia.



• highly intuitive and insightful
• vivid imagination/creative
• curious about how things work/mechanically inclined
• strong listening comprehension (often used as a compensatory skill)
• reads slowly with many inaccuracies; avoids reading aloud
• difficulty sounding out unknown words; heavily reliant on guessing based on context
• skips or misreads prepositions and suffixes
• poor spelling and handwriting; unusual pencil grip & letter formation
• written expression far below verbal skills; avoids writing tasks
• extremely messy personal space (bookbag, bedroom, desk, locker)
• trouble telling time on a clock with hands
• difficulty learning to tie shoes
• difficulty with word problems in math; difficulty memorizing multiplication tables
• chronic ear infections as a young child
• decreased self-esteem; frustrates easily; dreads going to school
• uncoordinated
• left-right confusion; writes some letters or numbers backwards

Attention Deficit Disorder

• highly intuitive and insightful
• distractible
• difficulty maintaining attention to task (mind continually wanders), with the ability to hyperfocus (when interest level is high)
• lost in his or her thoughts; daydreams often; forgetful (more common with inattentive type)
• poor listening and reading comprehension (due in part to the mind wandering)
• significant dislike for homework, especially that which involves reading tasks (due in part to the exhausting task of re-reading material)
• difficulty initiating and/or completing tasks
• high activity level/constant motion; fidgeting; difficulty remaining seated (more common with hyperactive type)
• impulsive; talks excessively; blurts out commentary; interrupts frequently (more common with hyperactive type)
• poor time management, planning, and organizational skills
• demonstrates inconsistent performance
• spends inordinate amount of time on academics or career matters with inconsistent positive results

Auditory Processing Disorder

• normal hearing
• difficulty following complex or multi-step directions
• hears scrambled or incomplete message, especially in the presence of background noise
• difficulty tolerating loud noises
• frequently responds with what? or huh?
• delayed response to verbal tasks
• requires frequent repetition or simplified version of verbal requests
• heavily reliant on memorizing (often without understanding); slow to learn new concepts
• poor time management, planning, and organizational skills
• difficulty with socialization skills
• poor reading and listening comprehension (due in part, to weak visualization skills when listening or reading information)
• poor auditory memory
• difficulty discriminating between similar sounding sounds or identifying sound changes in words
• poor sound localization
• word finding difficulties

Autism Spectrum Disorder

• normal development in the first few months of age
• hearing-impairment commonly suspected despite normal hearing tests results.
• delayed language development: difficulty expressing needs; echolalic; language is commonly described as “scripted”
• preference for independent play and conversation (talks at others instead of to others); limited or absent social interaction
• insists on sameness and routine; difficulty with change and transitions
• obsessive attachment to objects
• highly-focused and restrictive interests
• reduced eye contact
• resistant to being held or cuddled
• difficulty with sensory integration


Nearly 20% of the US population struggles with learning disabilities. When individuals with learning disabilities do not receive adequate support and intervention, secondary emotional difficulties – including depression and low self-worth - can occur. More troubling, unidentified and untreated learning disabilities can lead individuals to follow negative paths, such as quitting school, becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, or engaging in criminal behavior. Indeed, as many as 60% of our prison inmates are estimated to have learning disabilities.

Of course, this is not to say that all individuals with learning disabilities lead hopeless or unsuccessful lives. In fact, some of the most well-known inventors, scientists, business leaders, and artists – including Schwab, Einstein, DaVinci, Edison, Disney, and Rockefeller - have learning disabilities. They succeeded despite their learning disability largely because they discovered their passion and used it along with their inner will and drive to overcome their adversity.

At Lemon Tree, we prefer to believe that these accomplished individuals succeeded BECAUSE of - and not despite - their learning disabilities. A paramount goal at Lemon Tree is to help our students identify their gifts as learners and discover their passion. We believe becoming in tune with your passion and innate gifts is the perfect formula for squelching adversity and experiencing success.

Phone: 813.854.3000 • Fax: 813.854.3002 • 3885 Tampa Road, Suite A, Oldsmar, FL 34677• info@lemontreecenter.com