Chapter Five- Students with Specific Learning Disabilities

Specific Learning Disabilities according to IDEA- the federal definition of LD
is a disorder in one or more of the basic Psychological Processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written

– it could effect your ability to listen, think, speak, read, write or do mathematical calculation

-includes conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia

-specific earning disability does not include learning problems that are the result of other disabilities like visual, hearing, motor disabilities and mental retardation or from of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Learning Disabilities
A) a federal definition included in the Individuals with Disabilities education act
B) the defintion proposed by the national joint committee on Learning disabilities

includes representatives from 13 professional and parent organizations concerned about individuals with learning disabilities.

-general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders- presumed to be due to the central nervous system dysfunction and may occur across the lifespan

-problems in self regulatory behavior, social perception and social interaction may exist but do not themselves constitue a learning disability

essential dimensions of a definition of learning disabilities
-they comprise a heterogeneous group of disorders, they could have problems with reading, writing, math,language,oral language

-learning disabilities are intrinsic to the individual and have neurobiological basis- learning disabilities exist because of some type of brain dysfunction not because of external factors, limited experience or poor teaching

-LDs are characterized by unexpected underachievement the disorder exists when a students academic achievement is significantly below their intellectual potential

-LDs are not the result of other disorders or problems but students with learning disabilities may have other special needs as well

Prevalence of Learning Disabilities
In 2007-2008- 2.4 million students between the ages 6 and 21 had learning disabilities

-growth in this area has decreased overall by more then 20% in recent years and by 15% in older students

-Prevalence is higher in boys then girls because of
more vunerable to prenatal damage
brain organization

-new category developmentally delayed is being used for some

-RTI procedures are having an impact

Causes of learning disabilities
2 causes: Physiological causes and curricular and environmental contributors

Physiological Causes
possible physiological causes of LD:
-are brain injury
prenatal: before birth
perinatal: during birth
postnatal: after birth
-heredity (genes)
-bio chemical imbalance( attention problems could be due to less chemical in the brain)

curriculum and environmental contributors
LDs can be caused by situations in which they live
-poor nutrition
-adverse emotional climate at home
-toxins (lead- like in paint)
-lack of simulation
-english is not primary language
-poor instruction

Characteristics of Individuals with learning disabilities

Cognitive Characteristics
students with learning disabilities have average or above average intelligence but they usually display weakness in one or more areas of cognition, including attention, perception, memory and thinking/processing.

may have poor selective attention, students with learning disabilities may have extraordinary difficulty attending to only the important stimuli in their environments

they have perceptual problems- how her brain interrupts what is seen or heard and acts on it- for example when a student might see perfectly well whats on the page however when asked to read the words a student might skip some of them or a hard time getting from one point to another

students with LD may experience problems with memory, Everyone has 2 types of memory: short term and long term,
short term memory: is the mechanism by which a person holds information in the mind for a brief amount of time
long term memory: is the permanent storage mechanism in the brain and information to be remembered generally has to be transferred from short term to long term.

Information processing
students general information or processing might be deficit- they have difficutly with megacognition- ability to actively consider new information they are learning relates to other information

Academic Characteristics- these things can be problems for students with Learning Disabilities
reading, written language, oral language, mathematics

many students struggle with reading which is Dyslexia:

phonological awareness- which is the ability to make the connection between letters and the sounds they stand for, these students are not able to sound out words and they often rely on visual cues or the context in which a word is used to determine what the word is

oral fluency- they may read aloud in a word-by-word manner without appropriate inflection or rhythm, unable to relate the patterns of spoken language to the printed word

compression- when asked about what they read these students have no idea of what they said

oral language
fall into the areas of phonology, morphology, syntax,

pragmatics:the rules associated with the use of language in conversation

Phonology: using correct sounds to form words

morphology: structure of words and the construction of word forms.

semantics: the meanings or words of phrases

syntax: the rules that pertain to the ways in which words can be combined to form sentences in a language

written language
motor coordination can be to hard for some it is called Dysgraphia

dyscalculia- you cant calculate, cant learn basic math facts or compilation skills

social and emotional characteristics
2 areas are praticulary relevant: social perception and motivation

social perception
they make lack social skills when compared to peers, these students tend to have lower self-esteem
-social perception

social competence: their ability to accurately receive, interpret and respond to the subleties of interpersonal interactions

many students with LD sometimes are not motivated to learn- stop trying because it didn’t work before

they could have locus of control: which their belief about whether their life experiences are determined by

internal locus of control: you feel like you have control over what happens to you or when you do a cross word puzzle just so you can see if you can do it

external factors. you have a sense of what is going on, you feel like everything is due to chance or luck you do a chore just for money

behavior characteristics
types of behavior problems: out of seat behavior, talk outs, physical or verbal agression
Possible causes: communication difficulties, frustration with academics, attention difficulties or hyperactivity

Traditional Approach to Identifying students with Learning Disabilities
this is for kids going trough testing in a traditional way-which includes formal and informal assessment

formal assessments
In many school districts the formal assessments used to determine whether a student has a learning disability are either norm referenced tests or criterion referenced tests

2traditional approaches
norm referenced tests- student taking test gets compared to a large group of students or norm group

criterion referenced tests- these tests are used to see if a student has learned a specific body of information so they represent an absolute standard rather than the comparative standard of norm-referenced test

classroom assessment (informal)
is usually considered informal-is the 2nd type of data gathered to determine whether a student has a LD.

3 types of classroom assessments are used-

1))Curriculum- based measurement: comparing a students understanding of the curriculum to another student in the classroom

2))Portfolio assessment: is a purposeful collection of a students work that demonstrates the quality and progress of her learning- the purpose of this is to capture a snapshot of a students performance in the reality of the classroom

3))Observation: federal law requires that they be observed in the gen ed classroom- it involves getting a general sense of the students academic/behavioral functioning in the classroom

3 ways of determining whether they have a learning disability
traditional approach, RTI, and patterns and weaknesses

Criteria for Eligibility in schools using a traditional approach
– is there a ability, academic achievement discrepancy
(Is there a gap between there IQ and their achievement)

-is the learning problem a result of a disorder in an area of basic psychological processing involved in understanding language (like reading, writing math)

-can the possible causes of learning problems be eliminated (things like poor teaching, poor living, rule out of all these like vision will they still have LD)

RTI: responce to intervention
added it to IDEA in 2004 because they felt like we were waiting for kids to fail before we were diagnosing them
does 3things:

1) replaces discrepancy between IQ and achievement in the traditional approach

2) Requires universal screening: test every kid in the classroom and then the kids who are falling behind despite then they give them interventions like hill center type then if they are still having trouble despite all the interventions then they can be considered to having a learning disability

3) intension intervention and instruction before they decide if a student has a learning disability

Pattern of strength and weaknesses
determine a child’s strength and weaknesses in oder to determine there LD

Three- tiered approach
Three-Tiered approach system of support used to determine the needs of students who experience academic difficulties- each tier is increasing intense and individualized
Tier 1) used with reading sometimes math or behavior, generally refers to using research based approaches for all students so that high quality instruction is insured
-if student is struggling with this instruction they move to next Tier
Tier 2) involves small group instruction several times a week, each week using more intensive instructional strategies
– students who do not respond positively to this one move to next tier 3
Tier 3) involves daily one on one instruction or small group instruction outside the classroom (sometimes tier 3 indicates if a student needs special ed)

Education for LD by age
1. early childhood- usually not diagnosed with LD because they are too young to tell and you don’t want to give that label to kids at such a young age

2. elementary + ms and hs- trend toward inclusion, resource room and self contained
more kids with LD these days are in inclusion or resource room

3) transition to adulthood- hard to transition to adulthood but the outcomes are very variable because they have difficulties now we have to have transition planning it is now part of a law- 1990

two educational practices to educate kids with LDs
Direct instruction: comprehensive teacher led approach with information in small segments, teacher guided practice and immediate feedback on accuracy (very specific and skill orainted- teacher gives info and then if they don’t understand teacher says okay lets do it again)

Strategy instruction: teaching students stratagies so students can work independently- like rubric you might use (use achronim)