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Chapter 5: Learners with Learning Disabilities Critical Concepts Karen Stewart.

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1 Chapter 5: Learners with Learning Disabilities Critical Concepts Karen Stewart

2 IDEA 2004 Definition 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, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. IncludesDoes not Include Perceptual handicaps Brain injury Minimal brain dysfunction Dyslexia Developmental aphasia Learning problems as a result of Visual, motor, hearing disabilities Mental retardation Emotional disturbance Environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage

3 Five Components of the Definition Disorder in basic psychological processes o The theory that the individual does not process information as efficiently or effectively as others o The presence of disorders in processing can be inferred only from observation of learning behaviors Language component o Deficits in receptive and expressive language o Difficulties in language processing

4 Five Components “The imperfect ability to…” clause o If the student has the ability to function at an acceptable level, but fails to do so even after adequate instruction. The inclusion clause o One of the diagnoses listed in the definition is not a requirement to be identified as having a learning disability The exclusion clause o If a student has not had the opportunity to learn, the learner may not be identified as having a learning disability.

5 Prevalence Individual state prevalence range from 1.88%-5.93% o Rate of identification is affected by state and district criteria Identified as having a learning disability: o Each year 4-5% of all students o 50% of students in special education

6 Prevalence Age distribution shift: o Prevalence among 6-11 year-olds declining o Prevalence among 12-17 year-olds increased Why? o Awareness of LD concept o Improved screening procedures o LD label has less of a stigma than other labels o Creation of developmental delay category o ASD category added to IDEA 1990 allowed for more appropriate labeling as ASD instead of LD o Use of LD label to replace remedial classes that no longer exist due to budget cuts o Court cases questioning the use of certain standardized instruments in making disability diagnoses for minority students

7 Conditions Intrinsic FactorsExtrinsic Factors According to the DSM-IV-TR o Genetic differences o Brain injury Prenatal Perinatal Post natal o Biochemical imbalances o Unspecified brain differences These factors can account for the problems displayed, but it is unclear to what extent they account for underachievement. Environmental toxins Environmental Problems o Child abuse o Neglect o Lack of early stimulation o Inadequate or inappropriate instruction Food and environmental allergens have also been named as potential factors, but there has not been support through research.

8 Characteristics Characteristics are heterogeneous Can be divided into two categories o Developmental learning disabilities Disability in functions that are usually considered prerequisites to successful academic learning o Academic disabilities Problems in the more traditional areas of school learning, such as reading, written language, spelling, mathematics Underlying factors related to cognitive processing, such as visual perception, linguistic processing, attention and memory

9 Characteristics Examples of difficulties: o Problem solving o Oral language o Ability to focus and maintain attention o Limited vocabulary o Decoding and blending sounds o Reading comprehension o Spelling o Dysgraphia o Dyscalculia o Multi-step problems (Raymond, 2012)

10 Characteristics Other difficulties: o Make mistakes when reading out loud o Messy handwriting o Trouble understanding sarcasm or jokes o Difficulty following directions o May not follow social rules of conversation o May not be able to retell a story in order o May not know where to begin a task or how to continue from there (NICHCY, 2011)

11 References NICHCY Disability Fact Sheet #7. (2011). NICHCY: Raymond, E. (2012). Learners with mild disabilities: A characteristics approach. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

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