Specific learning disabilities
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Specific Learning Disabilities

National Association of Special Education Teachers


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  • IDEA defines a specific learning disability as:

  • The term means 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 an 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.


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Learning Disability

  • Disorders not included. The term 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.


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Learning Disability

  • Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 the definition of “a specific learning disability” is unchanged. However, Section 1414(b)(6) IDEA 2004 states that schools “ shall not be required to take into consideration whether a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning.”


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Learning Disabilities

  • Learning disabilities can be characterized by a discrepancy between a student’s ability and his or her achievement in areas such as reading, writing, mathematics, or speaking. This option is up to the individual school, or agency doing the assessment.


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Learning Disability

  • Discrepancy Formula

    EGE = # year in school x IQ

    100+ 1.0

    EGE = MA + CA + Grade Age / 3 – 5

    SD = CA IQ

    300+ .17 – 2.5


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Causes

  • learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are presumed to be disorders of the central nervous system and a variety of factors may contribute to their occurrence. Learning disabilities may be due to:


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Causes

  • Heredity. Learning disabilities tend to run in families. It is not unusual to discover that people with learning disabilities come from families in which other family members have reported similar difficulties.


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Causes

  • Problems during pregnancy and childbirth. Learning disabilities may be caused by illness or injury during or before birth. Learning disabilities may also be caused by the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, RH incompatibility with the mother (if untreated), premature or prolonged labor or lack of oxygen or low weight at birth.


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Causes

  • Incidents after birth. Head injuries, nutritional deprivation, poisonous substances, (e.g., lead), and child abuse can contribute to learning disabilities


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Characteristics

Students who have learning disabilities may exhibit a wide range of traits, including:

  • problems with reading comprehension

  • spoken language

  • writing

  • reasoning ability

  • Hyperactivity

  • Inattention

  • perceptual coordination problems may also be associated with learning disabilities.


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Characteristics

  • Other traits that may be present include a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • uneven and unpredictable test performance

  • perceptual impairment

  • motor disorders


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Characteristics

  • behaviors such as impulsiveness

  • low tolerance for frustration

  • problems in handling day-to-day social interactions and situations

  • inconsistent school performance


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Characteristics

  • difficulty remembering today what was learned yesterday, but may know it tomorrow

  • short attention span (restless, easily distracted)


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Characteristics

  • letter and number reversals (sees "b" for "d" or "p", "6" for "9", "pots" for "stop" or "post")

  • poor reading (below age and grade level)

  • frequent confusion about directions and time (right-left, up-down, yesterday-tomorrow)


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Characteristics

  • personal disorganization (difficulty in following simple directions/schedules; has trouble organizing, planning, and making best use of time; frequent loss or misplacement of homework, schoolbooks, or other items)


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Characteristics

  • impulsive and/or inappropriate behavior (poor judgment in social situations, talks and acts before thinking)

  • failure on written tests but high scores on oral exams (or vice versa)


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Characteristics

  • speech problems (immature language development, trouble expressing ideas, poor word recall)

  • difficulty understanding and following instructions unless they are broken down to one or two tasks at a time

  • seems immature and has difficulty making friends


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Characteristics

  • trouble remembering what someone just told him or her

  • poor coordination (in gross motor activities such as walking or sports and/or in fine motor activities such as tying a shoelace, holding a pencil, or handwriting - inconsistent, slow, messy, or illegible)


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Characteristics

  • difficulty interpreting body language, facial expression, or tone of voice

  • difficulty with development of sound/symbol correspondence


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Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities may occur in the following academic areas:

  • Spoken language: Delays, disorders, or discrepancies in listening and speaking;

  • Written language: Difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling;


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Learning Disabilities

  • Arithmetic: Difficulty in performing arithmetic functions or in comprehending basic concepts;

  • Reasoning: Difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts; and

  • Organization skills: Difficulty in organizing all facets of learning.


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Learning Disabilities

  • Some of these problems can be found in all children at certain stages of development. When a child has a cluster of symptoms that do not disappear as she/he gets older, you might suspect learning disabilities.


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Common Types

I-Dyslexia - a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding words, sentences, or paragraphs.


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Symptoms of Dyslexia

Symptoms in preschoolersSome of the symptoms of dyslexia or SLD in a preschooler could include:

  • Delayed speech.

  • Problems with pronunciation.

  • Problems with rhyming words and learning rhymes.

  • Difficulty with learning shapes, colors and how to write their own name.

  • Difficulty with retelling a story in the right order of events.


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Symptoms of Dyslexia

Symptoms in primary school childrenSome of the symptoms in a primary school age child could include:

  • Problems with reading a single word.

  • Regularly confuses certain letters when writing, such as 'd' and 'b' or 'm' and 'w'.

  • Regularly writes words backwards, such as writing 'pit' when the word 'tip' was intended.


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Symptoms of Dyslexia

  • Problems with grammar, such as learning prefixes or suffixes.

  • Tries to avoid reading aloud in class.

  • Doesn't like reading books.

  • Reads below their expected level.


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Symptoms of Dyslexia

  • Symptoms in high school childrenSome of the symptoms in a high school student could include:

  • Poor reading.

  • Bad spelling, including different misspellings of the same word in one writing assignment.

  • Difficulties with writing summaries.

  • Problems with learning a foreign language.


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Types

II-Dyscalculia - a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing. Poetic ability. Good visual memory for the printed word. Good in the areas of science (until a level requiring higher math skills is reached), geometry (figures with logic not formulas), and creative arts.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction. Inability to recall schedules, and sequences of past or future events. Unable to keep track of time. May be chronically late.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. Substitute names beginning with same letter.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Poor mental math ability. Poor with money and credit. Cannot do financial planning or budgeting. Checkbooks not balanced. Short term, not long term financial thinking. Fails to see big financial picture. May have fear of money and cash transactions. May be unable to mentally figure change due back, the amounts to pay for tips, taxes, etc


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these common mistakes are made: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Poor long term memory (retention & retrieval) of concept mastery- may be able to perform math operations one day, but draw a blank the next! May be able to do book work but fails all tests and quizzes.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • May be unable to comprehend or "picture" mechanical processes. Lack "big picture/ whole picture" thinking. Poor ability to "visualize or picture" the location of the numbers on the face of a clock, the geographical locations of states, countries, oceans, streets, etc.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Poor memory for the "layout" of things.  Gets lost or disoriented easily. May have a poor sense of direction, loose things often, and seem absent minded. (Remember the absent minded professor?)


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • May have difficulty grasping concepts of formal music education. Difficulty sight-reading music, learning fingering to play an instrument, etc.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • May have poor athletic coordination, difficulty keeping up with rapidly changing physical directions like in aerobic, dance, and exercise classes. Difficulty remembering dance step sequences, rules for playing sports.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Difficulty keeping score during games or difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, etc. Often looses track of whose turn it is during games, like cards and board games. Limited strategic planning ability for games, like chess.


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Types

III-Dysgraphia - a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space.


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Generally illegible writing (despite appropriate time and attention given the task)

  • Inconsistencies: mixtures of print and cursive, upper and lowercase, or irregular sizes, shapes, or slant of letters

  • Unfinished words or letters, omitted words


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Inconsistent position on page with respect to lines and margins.

  • Inconsistent spaces between words and letters

  • Cramped or unusual grip, especially:

    Holding the writing instrument very close to the paper, or

    Holding thumb over two fingers and writing from the wrist


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Strange wrist, body, or paper position

  • Talking to self while writing, or carefully watching the hand that is writing


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Dyscalculia-Symptoms

  • Slow or labored copying or writing - even if it is neat and legible

  • Content which does not reflect the student's other language skills


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Types

IV-Dysorthographia: Individuals with this disorder have difficulties utilizing clues from several sources that aid in deciding on the correct spelling of a word. It is a specific learning disability that involves an inability or delay in learning to properly spell words from letters


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Dysorthographia-Symptoms

  • Dysorthographia involves persistent problems with symbol recognition and ordering that are essential for proper spelling.


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Dysorthographia-Symptoms

  • People who are poor spellers typically have trouble analyzing the sounds, syllables, and meaningful parts of words in both spoken language and written language.


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Dysorthographia-Symptoms

  • . In addition, they often have trouble learning other types of symbolic codes such as math facts and math operation signs


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Types

  • Auditory and Visual Processing Disabilities - sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision. HANDOUT


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Prevalence

  • As many as 1 out of every 5 people in the United States has a learning disability. Almost 3 million children (ages 6 through 21) have some form of a learning disability and receive special education in school.


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Prevalence

  • In fact, over half of all children who receive special education have a learning disability


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Gender Differences

  • LD is twice as common in males as in females, Males are significantly more likely than females to fall within each major disability group.


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Co-morbidity

  • Co-morbidity means that certain diseases and disorders tend to occur together

  • In 25% of the cases of Learning disabilities, a co-morbid condition is Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder-AD/HD


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Educational Implications

  • Supports or changes in the classroom (sometimes called accommodations) help most students with LD.


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Educational Implications

  • Specifically, technology can help individuals with disabilities become more efficient and effective learners


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Other Facts

  • Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.


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Other Facts

  • New statistics indicate that about 47.5% of the disability population are individuals with learning disabilities


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Other Facts

  • Approximately 85% of all individuals with learning disabilities have difficulties in the area of reading.


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Other Facts

  • 44% of parents who noticed their child exhibiting signs of problems with learning waited a year or more before acknowledging their child might have a serious problem.


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Other Facts

  • 35% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school. This is twice the rate of students without learning disabilities. Of those who do graduate, less than two percent attend a four-year college, despite the fact that many are above average in intelligence.


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