Specific Learning Disability Hadley Schmoyer
Federal Definition • General: The term “specific learning disability” means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical equations. • Disorders include: Such terms includes such conditions as perceptual disability, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. • Disorders not included: Such terms do not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
NJCLD Definition • A disorder that affects people's ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. It may also be referred to as a learning disorder or a learning difference.
Facts about LD • 5-6% of school-age children have some learning disability. • Boys outnumber girls 3-1 • 10-25% overlap between LD and ADHD • Fifteen percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, has some type of LD, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Difficulty with basic reading and language skills are the most common learning disabilities. As many as 80% of students with LD have reading problems. • Learning disabilities often run in families. • LD should not be confused with other disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders. None of these conditions are learning disabilities. In addition, they should not be confused with lack of educational opportunities like frequent changes of schools or attendance problems. Also, children who are learning English do not necessarily have a learning disability.
List of Common Learning Disabilities • Dyslexia – a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder. • Dyscalculia – a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts. • Dysgraphia – a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space. • Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders – sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision. • Nonverbal Learning Disabilities – a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions.
Common Signs—Pre school • Speaks later than most children • Pronunciation problems • Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word • Difficulty rhyming words • Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes • Extremely restless and easily distracted • Trouble interacting with peers • Difficulty following directions or routines • Fine motor skills slow to develop
Common Signs—K thorough 4 • Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds • Confuses basic words (run, eat, want) • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home) • Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =) • Slow to remember facts • Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization • Impulsive, difficulty planning • Unstable pencil grip • Trouble learning about time • Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents
Common Signs—5 through 8 • Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt) • Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies • Avoids reading aloud • Trouble with word problems • Difficulty with handwriting • Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip • Avoids writing assignments • Slow or poor recall of facts • Difficulty making friends • Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions
Common Signs—High School and Adults • Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing • Avoids reading and writing tasks • Trouble summarizing • Trouble with open-ended questions on tests • Weak memory skills • Difficulty adjusting to new settings • Works slowly • Poor grasp of abstract concepts • Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much • Misreads information
Ways to Identify a Learning Disability • IQ-Achievement Discrepancy • RTI—Response to Intervention
Considerations for Teachers • Self-instruction • Self-monitoring • Scaffolding • Reciprocal teaching • Content enhancement—mnemonic devices, graphic organizers, etc. • Direct instruction • Peer tutoring
Considerations for Students • Organize • Ask for help • Mini-goals • Acknowledge frustration • Self-monitoring • Emotional health
Considerations for Families • Start a folder of all letters and materials related to your child's education. • Add copies of school files and names and dates of all tests and results, including medical exams and information from other professionals. • Collect samples of schoolwork that demonstrate your child's difficulties, as well as strengths. • Keep a contact log of discussions with professionals. • Keep a log of your own observations. • Be aware of emotional health.
Considerations for Society/Employers • Individualization • Supportive • On-going supervision • Know ADA laws
Sample IEP Goals • Language Arts-Reading: (Student’s name) will read a 3rd grade passage and be able to comprehend its contents and decode 10 of the words contained therein with 70% accuracy within the next 29 weeks. • Objectives • Objective 1: (Student’s name) will read one passage on a 2nd grade level and will be given 2 comprehension questions and 1 word to decode on a weekly basis. If he falls four points below the expected growth line he will be given the passage in an alternate format and given the same questions and words to decode. He will be given the material in alternate or combined formats until he meets the expected growth line… • From the first objective to the last, increase criteria and list how success or failure to meet said criteria will be addressed and which methods will be used to do so. Creating objectives this way will show a clear path for the prescribed goal. • Objective 4: (Student’s name) will be given 5 additional words to decode both on the 3rd grade and 4th grade levels within the 4th nine weeks of the 10-11 school year based on his performance as ordained by objective 3 for this goal. If he does not meet the objectives set forth, he will be presented the same or similar passages to comprehend and words to decode in alternative formats until he reaches 60% accuracy. • Objective 5: (Student’s name) will read 2 passages and be introduced to text on the 4th grade level within the 4th nine weeks of the 10-11 school year pending his performance on objective 3.
Sample SDI • Breaking tasks into smaller steps, and giving directions verbally and in writing • Giving the student more time to finish schoolwork or take tests • Letting the student with reading problems use textbooks-on-tape • Letting the student with listening difficulties borrow notes from a classmate or use a tape recorder • Letting the student with writing difficulties use a computer with specialized software that spell checks, grammar checks, or recognizes speech. • Teach organization and study skills • Allowing for modified assessment options • Modeling • Chunking • Written prompts • Pre-view – teach – review • Outline Skills • Teach note taking/identification of relevant information • Repeat what is heard (student) • Visual prompts/cues • Paraphrasing / summarizing • Mnemonic strategies
Resources • www.ldonline.org • www.ldaAmerica.org • www.interdys.org • www.LD.org • www.ldanatl.org • www.nichcy.org