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Chapter 6

Chapter 6. Persons with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities. Samuel Kirk, 1962

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Chapter 6

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  1. Chapter 6 Persons with Learning Disabilities

  2. Learning Disabilities • Samuel Kirk, 1962 “…A retardation, disorder or delayed development in one or more of the processes of speech, language, reading, writing, arithmetic, or other school subjects resulting from a psychological handicap caused by possible cerebral dysfunction and/or emotional or behavioral disturbances. It is not the result of mental retardation, sensory deprivation, or cultural and instructional factors.”

  3. Specific Learning Disabilities Act of 1969 • Disorder in basic psychological processes • Spoken and written language • Manifested in specific disorders • Listening, thinking, talking, reading, writing, spelling, or arithmetic • Included were perceptual handicaps, brain injury minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, developmental aphasia • Not included were learning problems attributed to: • Visual, hearing, or motor handicaps • Mental retardation, emotional disturbances • Environmental disadvantage

  4. IDEA (101-476) I • Specific learning disability • Disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in • Understanding or using language, spoken or written • May manifest in an imperfect ability to • LISTEN • SPEAK • READ • WRITE • SPELL • MATHEMATICAL CALCULATIONS

  5. IDEA (101-476) II • The term learning disability includes • Perceptual handicaps • Brain injury • Minimal brain dysfunction • Dyslexia • Developmental aphasia • The term learning disability does not include learning difficulties resulting primarily from • Visual, hearing, or motor handicaps • Mental retardation or emotional disturbance • Environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage (U.S. Office of Education, 1977, p. 65083)

  6. Severe Discrepancy • Discrepancy between student’s academic performance and his or her estimated or assumed ability or potential • Based on assumption of overall average to above average IQ • A discrepancy of two or more years below expected performance levels in one academic area • Parameters not specified nor authorized by federal definition

  7. Controversial Definitions • National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 1981 • Heterogenous groups • Concomitant handicapping conditions • Learning Disabilities Association of America, 1986 • Chronic condition of neurological origin varying in manifestation and degree • Affecting self-esteem, education, vocation, socialization, and/or daily living activities

  8. History of the Field Learning Disabilities • Four phases • Foundation (1800-1930) • Transition (1930-1960) • Integration (1960-1980) • Current (1980-present)

  9. Foundation Phase1800-1930 • Emphasis on brain research • Hinshelwood- “word blindness”, brain defect • Goldstein- behavioral and perceptual impairments resulting from brain damage • Strauss & Werner- Wayne County Training School • Mental retardation attributed to brain damage rather than genetic factors • Characteristics suggested need for instructional tactics

  10. Transition Phase1930-1960 • Emphasis on clinical study, assessment, and remediation strategies • Orton- cerebral dominance, dyslexia • Fernald- remedial programs • VAKT- multisensory approach to learning • Kephart- perceptual motor theory of learning • Frostig- visual perceptual skills • Developmental Test of Visual Perception

  11. Integration Phase(1960-1980) • Established disability area in US schools • Samuel Kirk- popularized term learning disabilities • Specific Learning Disabilities Act of 1969 • Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975,PL 94-142- forerunner to IDEA • Bill of Rights for children with disabilities • Formation of The Council for Learning Disabilities

  12. Current Phase(1980- present) • Turbulent transitions and challenges • Movement for full inclusion • Culturally and linguistically diverse learners • Computer technology, issues and trends • Impact of attention deficit disorder research • Controversy over assessment and the use of the severe discrepancy criteria for placement

  13. Prevalence • 2.8 million pupils ages 6-21 • Largest category of special education, slightly less than 50% of all individuals receiving service • Dramatic increase since the 1970’s • Possible reasons • Ambiguous parameters • Increase public awareness • Improved diagnostic and assessment capabilities • High social acceptance of the label

  14. Etiology I • Acquired trauma • Injury to the central nervous system • Prenatal- smoking, drugs, alcohol • Perinatal- anoxia, low birth weight, prematurity, difficult delivery, forcep trauma • Postnatal- high fever, stroke, concussion, TBI

  15. Etiology II • Genetic/Hereditary Influences • Familiality studies are not conclusive • Suggest speech, reading, and language difficulties may occur in certain families but cannot eliminate the influence of environmental reasons • Heritability studies compare twins • Certain types of learning problems are more common among identical twins than fraternal twins

  16. Etiology III • Biochemical abnormalities • Fiengold theory- proposed that allergic reaction to food products contributed to hyperactive behavior; not substantiated within the scientific community • Cott’s megavitamin theory- learning disability resulting from vitamin deficiency; not substantiated by scientific community

  17. Etiology IV • Environmental possibilities • Contributing to neurological dysfunction • Low socioeconomic status • Malnutrition • Lack of access to health care • Quality of instruction • Poor teachers and inadequate instruction • Lack of direct systematic instruction

  18. Characteristics (Lerner, 2000) • Disorders of attention • Poor motor abilities • Psychological process deficits • Information/processing problems • Oral language difficulties • Reading and written language difficulties • Quantitative disorders • Social skill deficits

  19. Learning Disabilities • Reading • Mathematics • Written language • Spoken language • Short term memory • Working memory • Metacognition • Attributions

  20. Reading Written language Oral language Mathematics Academic Characteristics • Deficits in:

  21. Disability in Reading • Reading comprehension • Cannot recall facts, sequences, or main themes • Word recognition errors • Omissions, insertions, substitutions, reversals • Oral reading • Insecurity, loses place • Word analysis skills • Phonological awareness difficulties, dyslexia

  22. Disability Area Mathematics • Computation skills • Word problems • Spatial relationships • Writing or copying shapes • Telling time • Understanding fractions/decimals • Measuring

  23. Disability in Written Language • Spelling • Omission or substitution of letters • Auditory memory and discrimination difficulties • Handwriting • Absence of fine motor skills • Lack of understanding of spatial relationships • Composition • Sentence structure • Paragraph organization • Complexity of stories

  24. Disability in Memory • Short-term memory • Recalling in correct order, of either aurally or visually presented information shortly after hearing or seeing the items • Working memory • Retaining information while simultaneously engaging in another cognitive activity • Success in reading and math depend on this ability • Crucial for word recognition and reading comprehension

  25. Disability in Spoken Language • Oral Expression • Word choice • Understanding complex sentence structures • Responding to questions • Mechanical deficits • Syntax, semantics, phonology • Pragmatics • Conversational skills • Nonverbal language

  26. Disability in Metacognition • Lack of awareness of strategies and resources needed to perform effectively • Inability to monitor, evaluate, and adjust performance to ensure successful task completion

  27. Disability in Attributions • Students may attribute success to situations beyond their control such as luck rather than to their own efforts • Chronic failure makes success seem unattainable • Learned helplessness (Seligman,1992) • Passive learners • Deficits in strategic learning behaviors

  28. Situational Problems • Social and Emotional • Lower self-esteem, poor self-concept, social imperceptiveness, and peer rejection • Attention and Hyperactivity • Difficulty staying on task, completing assignments, and following directions

  29. Assessment • Norm-referenced • Criterion-referenced • Curriculum based • Portfolio

  30. Figure 6.5 Educational Placements of Students with Learning Disabilities

  31. Instructional Approaches • Cognitive Training • Self Instruction • Mnemonic Strategies • Direct Instruction • Skill training • Task analysis • Learning Strategies • Strategies Intervention Model (SIM)

  32. Teaching Suggestions • Highly structured environment • Clear expectations • Positive reinforcement of appropriate social skills • Opportunity for success • Supportive atmosphere • Safety from embarrassment

  33. A Child at Risk(Gargiulo & Kilgo, 2001) • Maternal alcohol and drug abuse • Home environment lacking in adequate stimulation • Chronic poverty • Oxygen deprivation • Accidents and head trauma • Inadequate maternal and infant nutrition • Prematurity • Rh incompatibility • Low birth weight • Prolonged or unusual delivery

  34. Preschool Curriculum Models • Developmental/cognitive model • Behavioral curriculum model • Functional curriculum model • Combination approach

  35. Transition PlanningSmith et al. (1993) • Preparation for high school content classes • Preparation for high school exiting tests • Counseling for daily crises • Preparation for independent living • Preparation for postsecondary training • Preparation for employment or military service

  36. Post-secondary Accommodations(Section 504 of PL 93-112) • Adjustment in Evaluation Procedures • Extra time on exams • Distraction free setting • Oral examinations • Modifications in Program Requirements • Waiving or substituting courses • Decreasing academic load • Auxiliary Aid Provisions • Tape recording lectures, note takers • Assistive technology (screen readers, speech to text)

  37. Technology in the Classroom • Start with curriculum, not the technology • Use as an instructional tool: not a toy • Provides guided practice and immediate feedback • Customize technology to the student’s needs • Use to enrich and extend the curriculum • Provide opportunity and encouragement to practice using technology to empower and achieve greater levels of independence

  38. Trends, Issues, and Controversies • The full inclusion movement verses a continuum of services model • Goals 2000, Educate America Act, 1994 has created trends for higher graduation standards as well as greater teacher accountability for student performance • 1997 IDEA inclusion of students with disabilities in state and district-wide assessments • Impact of the reauthorization of IDEA in 2004

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