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Richard Henderson Regional Special Education Consultant Idaho State University. Specific Learning Disability Criteria for School Administrators . To provide participants with specific information relating to the newly revised SLD criteria. To provide participants the history of SLD in Idaho.

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Specific learning disability criteria for school administrators l.jpg

Richard Henderson

Regional Special Education Consultant

Idaho State University

Specific Learning Disability Criteriafor School Administrators

Objectives l.jpg

To provide participants with specific information relating to the newly 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 discuss how administrators can support the process in their school system.


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History of Learning Disabilities to the newly revised SLD criteria.

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.

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What LD “is” and “is not” to the newly revised SLD criteria.


Specific Learning Disability (SLD) 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 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.

(Flannagan, 2008)

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Why the Change? to the newly revised SLD criteria.

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.

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Why the Change? to the newly revised SLD criteria.

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.

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Three Models Used to Determine Eligibility to the newly revised SLD criteria.

RTI only model

Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses

Blended model ***

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Why Idaho Chose a Blended Model to the newly revised SLD criteria.

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.

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Blended Model to the newly revised SLD criteria.

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).

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Myths vs. Truths to the newly revised SLD criteria.

Myth #1: More students will be identified as LD.

Truth: There is no evidence to suggest that

students will over-identified.

Myth #2: We are back to professional judgment.

Truth: You still need to use valid and reliable

data to determine eligibility.

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Myths vs. Truths to the newly revised SLD criteria.

Myth #3: We have to buy all these expensive tests to give

to students.

TRUTH: There are assessments tools currently in place

to support the process.

Myth #4: This too will pass. It won’t last. It’s just the state

coming up with something new.

TRUTH: Sorry, folks. This aligns to IDEA 2004, and it is

not something that is going away.

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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

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How Does an Administrator Support this Process?

Provides resources for…

Training (Universal screening, Progress, Monitoring, Writing Interventions for Tier II and III, Content Area Training, Behavior Training, Understanding what preponderance of evidence means and looks like, Exclusionary factors that have to be considered, Data Analysis, Effectiveness of Core Curriculum

Time to plan—sometimes involves master schedule being analyzed and changed to increase time for core instruction, interventions to be delivered, etc.

Time to collect student and school data—Do we have enough data to support a “preponderance of evidence” that the student has a learning disability vs. lack of instruction—due to mobility, lack of teaching, etc.

Time to analyze data as a team—Does the team know what data to collect, how to collect, are their simple tools to support the data collection,

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Types of Assessments

Screening and Benchmark

Universal measures that give a quick read on whether students have mastered critical skills.

Diagnostic/PrescriptiveIndividually administered to gain more in-depth information and guide appropriate instruction or intervention plans.

Progress MonitoringDetermines whether adequate progress is made based on individual goals regarding critical skills.

OutcomeProvides an evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction and indicate student year-end achievement when compared to grade-level performance standards

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Additional Professional Development

The SDE will be providing additional training in phases through the next three years.

Statewide Special Education Calendar will be released first week of September, 2010.

Topics currently being researched for development are:

Universal Screening—for a school system approach

Differentiated instruction

Providing appropriate interventions at Tier 2 and 3

Progress monitoring process and tools

Managing classroom data

Peer teaching/co-teaching model

Writing Effective PLOPS/Goals

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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.


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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

Contact us l.jpg

Richard Henderson

Regional Special Education Consultant

Idaho State University

[email protected]

(208) 736-4263

Contact Us