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What Is the Specific Learning Disability Definition?

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 160

Many children struggle in school because they have a specific learning disability (SLD). According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the specific learning disability definition is as follows: "a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia".

It used to be that most states looked for a discrepancy between achievement and performance to determine if a child had a SLD. This is still used today by some school districts in certain states but it is not required and the professionals doing the assessments must use more than one assessment to make the determination of whether the child is a child with a SLD. Making this determination is often difficult as there are many factors to consider.

One important point to note is that just because a child is diagnosed as having a condition such as dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia it does not mean he/she will definitely qualify as an individual with a SLD under the IDEA Statues. A broader picture must be assessed to determine eligibility. The child must be observed in the general education classroom setting so that one of the professionals assessing the child can see how he/she compares to his/her peers. Other factors and assessments, both formal and informal, should be utilized to determine if the child is significantly behind his/her peers in the same grade level in certain academic areas and has educational needs that require specialized instruction and/or services.

As part of the assessment process, the school may utilize a variety of research-based interventions to see if the child has a positive response to intervention (RTI). Some children who respond well to interventions implemented within the classroom may not have a significant education need to qualify them as a child with a disability. While other children who respond well to certain interventions during the assessment process may need specialized instruction, supports and/or accommodations in order to meet their educational needs.

Another important factor to note is that the IDEA regulations clearly state that a child with SLD "does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage". Therefore, children who are disadvantaged or have other primary disabilities may not be categorized as SLD.

Children who do qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with a SLD often benefit greatly from smaller group instruction, specialized instruction and several accommodations. These are individualized based on the assessment data analyses and the educational needs of the child. A child with a SLD may receive services and instruction within the general education classroom or outside of the general education classroom based on their needs.

Remember that there are a variety of factors that go into an assessment to determine if your child is a child with a SLD. School districts must look at many factors to determine eligibility and educational need. If you would like more information about SLDs, IEPs, parental advocacy for your child with special needs and parenting your child with special needs, please visit my blog at, http://www.whatisiep.com.

Source: EzineArticles
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Specific Learning Disability

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Jennifer Fuller James

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Specific Learning Disability Definition

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