Learning disabilities …. Are considered intrinsic to the individual Are presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction Last throughout the person’s life Involve significant difficulties in listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematics*
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To be considered learning disabled, the child must have average or above average intelligence.
*Adapted from National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. (1998). Operationalizing
the NJCLD definition of learning disabilities for ongoing assessment in schools.
ASHA 40 (Suppl. 18)
Children who are English language learners (ELLs) sometimes have learning disabilities (LD). These children have two separate challenges as they learn in school. But those two challenges are intertwined to such an extent that it is often difficult to determine the difference between language difficulties and a learning disability.
This is an incredibly complex situation, and researchers are working
to find a better understanding of the overlapping issues involved.
Meanwhile, teachers and schools have to work with these kids;
these steps can help.
For more information on assessing ELLs for LD, please see
this article on LD OnLine: Learning Disabilities in English
Language Learners, by Dr. Louise Spear-Swerling.
ELL students often go through a non-verbal period in which they’re absorbing information. This “silent period” can be confused for a learning disability when, in fact, it’s just a part of the second-language acquisition process.
ELLs have twice the cognitive load — they have to learn a new language AND learn new content simultaneously.
Books on tape can help with pronunciation of sounds and words.
For information on books on tape, visit the website of Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic: www.rfbd.org
In order for these children to be successful, a team of adults will have to work together. The team should include as many of the following people as possible:
Establish a plan together and then communicate regularly to assess progress and reevaluate the plan. For students who are identified as having a learning disability, this coordination should be managed by the IEP team.
It’s critical to establish these routines very early so that children are invested.
If they’re not getting it, go back and use smaller steps.
Check out the section on learning disabilities.
Visit the ELL and LD section.
Clip from “Becoming Bilingual,” a part of the “Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers” television series.
Rachel Carson Elementary
It’s intimidating if you do not speak the language of the school, particularly in cultures where the teacher and school personnel are held in very high esteem.
Remember: A room full of professionals here to analyze your child can be incredibly intimidating.
There may be some parents who are not readers even in their own language.