Specific learning disability criteria and resources
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Richard Henderson and Alison Lowenthal Sponsored by: Idaho State Department of Education Division of Student Achievement and School Improvement Division of Special Education. Specific Learning Disability Criteria and Resources.

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Specific Learning Disability Criteria and Resources

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Specific learning disability criteria and resources

Richard Henderson and Alison Lowenthal

Sponsored by: Idaho State Department of Education

Division of Student Achievement and School Improvement

Division of Special Education

Specific Learning Disability Criteriaand Resources


To provide participants with specific information relating to the revised SLD criteria.

To provide participants the history of SLD in Idaho.

To explain why Idaho has changed their criteria.

To discuss the eligibility and evaluation criteria and the procedures.

To review the Idaho Toolkit.

To review SLD Secondary Resources.



History of learning disabilities

History of Learning Disabilities

Debates continue to be part of the learning disabilities history.

Most evident is the debate between the concepts of learning and it’s relationship to cognitive ability or intelligence.

Due to this debate, some practitioners rely solely on IQ testing with a few other parts of the whole.

With IDEA 2004, there were changes toward a system that moved from the concept of discrepancy only to a shift to an RTI framework.

What ld is and is not

What LD “is” and “is not”


Specific Learning Disability (SLD) means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processesinvolved 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.


Specific Learning Disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of cognitive impairment, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Why the change

Why the Change?

Aligns with the federal definition.

Is consistent with evidence demonstrating that students can have impairments in very specific areas.

Allows for evaluation and interventionplanning to be more closely aligned to address the particular needs of the student.

Why the change1

Why the Change?

Heterogeneity of SLD—meaning different student profiles can be viewed across school, district, state, and nation.

Current research evidence is not sufficient to recommend hard cut scores.

Rationale for the blended model in Idaho.

Three models used to determine eligibility

Three Models Used to Determine Eligibility

RTI only model

Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses

Blended model ***

Blended model

Blended Model

Idaho has chosen to use the blended model to support using a comprehensive approach to identification.

The blended model represents the most comprehensive approach, addressing the shortcomings in RTI only (which is lack of explanatory info) and patterns (which is lack of ecological assessment and continuity of how the disability manifests in the natural/educational environment).

Why idaho chose a blended model

Why Idaho Chose a Blended Model?

With both camps debating the IQ (discrepancy) method vs. the RTI method, both groups have moved to the middle of the debate.

There is a need to use an integrated framework to be consistent with what the expectations for implementing the new SLD criteria in Idaho.

5 steps prior to determining eligibility

5 Steps Prior to Determining Eligibility

Evaluation procedures

Evaluation Procedures

Step 1: Parent notification and involvement


Step 2: Evaluation must address the eligibility criteria discussed in previous slides

4 Parts to the Evaluation:

Evidence of insufficient progress in response to effective, evidence based instruction and intervention

Evidence of low achievement in one or more of the suspected area(s).

Evidence of a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in psychological processing skills that impact learning.

The team must determine that the student’s learning difficulty is not primarily the result of other factors.

Overview of idaho s sld policy

Overview of Idaho’s SLD Policy

Imperfect ability to learn

Imperfect Ability to Learn

Imperfect ability to learn1

Imperfect Ability to Learn

Sld policy notes

SLD Policy Notes

  • Learning Disability (expires July 31, 2010)

  • There are two ways to determine eligibility for students with a Learning Disability:

    • eitherResponse to Intervention (RTI)

    • orthe traditional discrepancy model.

High school students

High School Students

For a student in Graduating Classes of 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 that has already been identified Learning Disabled,

  • teams may chose to use either the discrepancy criteria that the student was originally identified with or

  • the 2009 Specific Learning Disability criteria for the three year reevaluation and continued eligibility determination.

  • This applies ONLY to the three year reevaluation.

High school students1

High School Students

  • For students who are considered ‘new’ referrals for special education services the 2009 SLD criteria MUST be used after August 1, 2010.

  • In and Out of State Transfer Guidance released in January, 2011 (available on the Idaho Training Clearinghouse).

How does the sde support you

How does the SDE support you?

Provides resources for…

Supports the SLD Action Plan

  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD)—Idaho Toolkit

  • SLD Training Calendar

  • SLD Current Peer Reviews

  • SLD Spring New Peer Reviews

  • Building Capacity for the New Process—forms, trainings, scaling up capacity, RtI trainings, cross program collaborations

Sld website

SLD Website

The Idaho Clearinghouse has developed a learning community called “Specific Learning Disabilities” dedicated to SLD information and events. Please check the website in upcoming months for updates.


New sld resources

New SLD Resources

  • Examples

    • NEW SLD Eligibility Report Example - Elementary

    • NEW SLD Eligibility Report Example - Middle School

    • NEW SLD Eligibility Report Example - High School

    • SLD Eligibility Report Example - Cedric

    • SLD Eligibility Report Example - Cedric Graph

    • SLD Eligibility Report Example - Trent

    • SLD Eligibility Report Example - Trent Graph

Idaho toolkit english learners who may have a disability

Idaho Toolkit: English Learners Who May Have a Disability

Idaho State Department of Education

A collaborative project

A Collaborative Project

  • Idaho Title III-LEP Program

  • Idaho Title I-A Program

  • Idaho Special Education Program

  • Dr. Susan Duron, Meta-Associates

Why the toolkit

Why the Toolkit?

  • The Idaho State Department of Education saw a need for districts to evaluate and determine the effectiveness of school-wide programs serving English Learners (i.e., core, Title I, Title I-C, Title III, etc.) before referring ELs for eligibility to Special Education.

  • The Idaho State Department of Education saw a need for districts and schools to develop effective collaboration between Special Education and LEP programs.

  • The Idaho State Department of Education developed the Idaho Toolkit as a response to ongoing district requests for more guidance in the area of Special Education as it pertains to English Learners.

The toolkit

The Toolkit…

  • Is NOT a quick fix with easy answers.

  • Is NOT an easy step-by-step process to get English Learners (ELs) into special education programs.

  • Is a systemic and comprehensive approach to ensuring districts are serving ELs with high-quality English language development (ELD) and core instructional programs.

  • Is aligned to Idaho’s Response to Intervention model.

Toolkit contents

Toolkit Contents

  • Self-Evaluation Survey

  • Module 1: Foundations

  • Module 2: Language and Culture

  • Module 3: Family and Community

  • Module 4: Effective Curriculum and Instruction

  • Module 5: Assessing ELLs

  • Module 6: Determining Special Education Eligibility

Secondary resources

Secondary Resources

  • Peer comparison data- www.nwea.org/www.act.orgwww.collegeboard.org/

  • Progress monitoring tools-

    • Yearly progress pro (1-8) www.ctb.com/

    • Aimsweb (1-8) www.aimsweb.com/

    • Project AAIMES www.mathgv.com/index.html (function plotting software)

    • Graphing software for your CBMs and district rubrics http://www.mciu.org/Divisions/SpecialEducation/EarlyInterventionOverview/ProgressMonitoringTools/tabid/296/Default.aspx (go to progress monitoring graphing tool)

Secondary resources1

Secondary Resources

  • Family and Community Partnerships-

    • One dream, two realities(go to reports and click more reports) www.civiccenterprises.net

    • Family and School Partnerships http://fsp.unl.edu/future_index.html

    • National Network of Partnering Schools www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/Research/researchpub.htm

  • National High School Center on Response to Intervention

    • Tiered interventions in high school: using preliminary lessons learned to guide ongoing discussion (can print off

      the pdf document )

Www idahotc com training and technology for today s tomorrow

www.idahotc.comTraining and Technology for Today’s Tomorrow

  • Website to link school professionals and parents with special education training opportunitiesand resourcesacross the state

  • Supported By:

    • Idaho State Department of Education (ISDE), Special Education

  • Project Team:

    • Cari Murphy

    • Shawn Wright

Online resources

Online Resources

IDEA Partnership’s RTI Collection: www.ideapartnership.org

National Association of School Psychologists: www.nasponline.org

National Association of State Directors of Special Education: www.nasdse.org

National Center for Learning Disabilities: www.ncld.org

National Center on Culturally Responsive Systems: www.nccrest.org

National Center on Student Progress Monitoring: www.studentprogress.org

National Center on Response to Intervention: www.rti4success.org

National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities: www.ldonline.org/njcld

National Research Center on Learning Disabilities: www.nrcld.org

Office of Special Education Programs, IDEA 2004 Building the Legacy: http://idea.ed.gov/

RTI Action Network: www.rtinetwork.org

Statewide special education technical assistance sesta

Center for School Improvement & Policy Studies, BSU

Gina Hopper, Carol Carnahan,

Associate Director Statewide Consultant

[email protected]@boisestate.edu

208.426.4363 208.426.3257

Statewide Special Education Technical Assistance (SESTA)

Contact information

Contact Information:

Richard Henderson

Idaho State Department of Education

Division of Student Achievement and School Improvement

Division of Special Education

(208) 332-6806

[email protected]

Alison Lowenthal

SDE Southwest Regional Special Education

Boise State University

(208) 426-4611

[email protected]

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