"We now know that there are many disorders of neurological development that can give rise to learning disabilities, even in children of normal or even high intelligence, and that crucially these disabilities can also co-occur far more often that you'd expect based on their prevalence," Brian Butterworth of the University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Butterworth said in a statement.
Specific learning disabilities arise from atypical brain development with complicated genetic and environmental causes, causing such conditions as dyslexia, dyscalculia -- difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic -- attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment.
While these conditions in isolation already provide a challenge for educators, an additional problem is specific learning disabilities also co-occur far more often that would be expected. For example, in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, 33 percent to 45 percent also suffer from dyslexia and 11 percent from dyscalculia, the researchers said.
The findings were published in the journal Science.