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The overarching goal of RTI is to provide support to students who may be experiencing difficulty, before they experience failure by falling too far behind their peers. Learning Disabilities - An International Perspective. This current chapter provides an overview of the historical background of specific learning disabilities SLDs in the United States of America. A SLD is a developmental disorder that begins by school age, although it may not be recognized until later [ 1 ].

It involves ongoing problems learning key academic skills, including reading, writing, and math.

Learning Disabilities: Second Edition: From Identification to Intervention

SLDs may also affect the way an individual is able to write, spell words, reason, recall, or organize information. SLDs are a lifelong condition that comes with varying levels of challenges unique to each individual. The impact that a SLD has on an individual can be minimized based upon the early detection and treatment of the condition. Evidence-based interventions are methods that have been scientifically confirmed with regard to the selected treatment and proven effectiveness.

In the current chapter, distinct types of SLDs will be emphasized. Progress monitoring is a key component to successful RTI implementation. This chapter will describe the assessments used to observe improvements.


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The benefits associated with RTI methods are discussed from multiple perspectives within this chapter. The role of speech-language pathologists SLPs and special educators is highlighted below. Each tier refers to the general descriptors of the strategies implemented in an increasingly intensive method [10].

This section provides a historical presentation of learning disabilities in the United States of America. Over the past few decades, students with learning disabilities have improved their ability to contribute to society as a result of receiving better services and a clearer diagnosis in relation to their deficits [ 3 ]. In the past, learning and attention issues were not on the public radar. In , the first publication by W. Bruner reported about childhood reading difficulties.

It was not until the s that the term dyslexia was coined. In the s, in the United States of America, professionals first started to recognize the term learning disability LD , which is later regarded as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD. At this time, inclusion of students with learning disabilities and their nondisabled peers was not practiced in the United States of America [ 4 ]. Instead, students with learning disabilities were educated separately.

In , Samuel A. Kirk was the first psychologist to use the term learning disability at a professional conference. It was around this time that public school and the federal government started paying attention to learning disabilities. LDA provides a plethora of resources to educators, individuals, families, states, and professional resources. In , the first federal law was passed to mandate services for students with learning disabilities. In , an act that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs receiving public finding was passed.

This act is referred to as Section of the Rehabilitation Act. In the s and s, trends continued to progress for individuals with learning disabilities. In , the first dyslexia state law was enacted in Texas requiring instructional interventions to be put in place for students.

Intervention for Learning Disabilities

In , the National Institute of Mental Health completed research that identified the regions of the brain affected when a person has a diagnosis of dyslexia. The first learning disability web source, for parents and teachers, was established this decade. In the year and beyond, the awareness and research of learning disabilities continued to grow. Public laws and policies provided individuals with more rights and guidelines were established for professionals responsible for educating students with disabilities. Brain research became fundamental in understanding learning disabilities and their causes.

In , research completed at Yale University looked at the differences between non-dyslexic and dyslexic brains. The researchers were able to view how the brains of those with dyslexia worked differently than non-dyslexic peers using MRI technology. Later in , Yale University identified a gene associated with dyslexia. The overall public view at this time was evolving with regard to the way people perceived individuals who have a learning disability. The reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA in increased responsibility of school districts and enhanced parental rights.

As a result, response to intervention RTI was introduced to assist struggling students before they are referred for special education services. In , researchers at the University College London used brain imaging to identify the areas of the brain that works differently when individuals have learning disabilities such as dyscalculia. This law provided each state within the United States of America to set their own goals for student achievement within a flexible federal framework.

Essentials of Specific Learning Disability Identification, 2nd Edition

The ways in which students are identified as having a learning disability have changed over the years. IDEA now requires that states adopt criteria that must not require the use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement in determining whether a child has a specific learning disability. To summarize the new practices, instead of using a severe discrepancy approach to determine a learning disability, school systems must provide the student with a research-based intervention. The most common types of SLDs affect the areas of math, reading, and writing [ 1 ].

Learning disabilities can be best described as having difficulties in academic achievement and related areas of learning and behavior. There is more than one cause for SLDs. This section of the chapter outlines several types of LDs. Some of the SLDs listed below are of high incidence, and others are of low incidence. It is also important to note that students who have a diagnosis of a SLD may have a comorbid diagnosis of another disability such as dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD or have patterns of weakness in executive functioning, which will impact the treatment they receive [ 2 ].

Dyslexia is caused by neurobiological dysfunctions in the brain. It may be inherited from parents or be a result of a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dementia. A person who has a diagnosis of dyslexia may have difficulty in understanding letters, groups of letters or symbols, sentences, or paragraphs [ 2 ].

Dyslexia can be diagnosed through a battery of assessments including memory, vision, spelling, and reading tests. Students who have dysgraphia may have difficulties that range from inability to formulate thoughts into text, illegible handwriting, inconsistent mix of print and cursive, upper and lower case, and unbalanced size, shape, and slant of letters.

In addition, an individual with dysgraphia may display difficulties in copying words, may show poor spatial planning, may use inconsistent spacing between letters or words, or may not complete letters or familiar words. Dyscalculia involves frequent difficulties with everyday arithmetic tasks, such as telling time, following directions, adhering to and creating schedules, and sequencing events [ 1 ].

Individuals with dyscalculia make mistakes with distinguishing between left and right. In addition, students with dyscalculia face challenges with consistently solving addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication problems. The knowledge of budgeting, financial planning, and estimating numbers is a daily challenge for individuals with dyscalculia. This approach embraces special and general education through the use of three target areas: a effective curriculum that provides opportunity for the majority of students to progress at the expected rate, b universal screening for early identification at-risk students so that these students may be provided additional, focused, intensive instruction while their progress is monitored, and c intensive interventions to aid students with learning difficulty [ 3 ].

RTI emerged in the field of education based on research on specific learning disabilities SLDs and reading interventions.

Specific Learning Disabilities: Response to Intervention

The results of SLD research influenced education laws and classroom practice [ 4 ]. IDEA encouraged schools to use research-based interventions to differentiate between students struggling due to poor instruction or to a disability [ 5 ]. Prior to the reauthorization of IDEA , a student may qualify for services under the SLD category by showing a discrepancy between achievement and aptitude on a qualified assessment.

As a discrepancy model, SLD is the term used to describe a student performing at average or higher intelligence on a standardized test and performing at a significant discrepancy usually two standard deviations in one or more academic areas. Shortcomings of the discrepancy model led leaders in the field of SLD to propose RTI as a valid method of identifying a student with a learning disability [ 4 ].

Through the use of powerful, scientific-based procedures for decision making, RTI focuses on improving the outcomes in both general and special education [ 5 ]. RTI is more than a method of identifying students with learning disabilities; it is a way to ensure better academic outcomes for all students. RTI shifts the focus from individual intrinsic abilities and characteristics to environmental variables and instruction [ 6 ]. The shift also requires a closer look at individualizing instruction within the classroom and consistent monitoring of progress through validated, research-based techniques [ 5 ].

Further, RTI encourages educators to be proactive in identifying learning delays, ideally to prevent those delays from becoming learning disabilities. Educators can intervene as early as preschool and kindergarten. This model differs from the past practice of allowing the opportunity for students to fail in middle-elementary grades e.

Valid instruction and interventions are defined as those leading to positive, reliable results for students with similar characteristics [ 5 ]. Having the right tools for the job is important, but knowing how to use them is crucial. Explore our free webinars and training opportunities to learn the most effective ways to utilize our products. Ready to place your order?

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Pearson's Field Research team is dedicated to revising, updating, and developing new educational and psychological assessment tools while ensuring that they remain sound and reliable over time. Staying up to date on the latest trends and assessments is vital to your ability to effectively serve your clients.

Stay in the know with our profession-related blog and helpful webinars. Although there is no single RTI model, the many variations that are emerging use a two-to-five tiered model. In general, the tiers would include:. Local Education Agencies must use the eligibility criteria developed by their State.

States must permit, and may require, using RTI as a part of eligibility criteria. Specific Learning Disabilities are neurologically-based, intrinsic to the individual and are characterized by intra-individual differences, including cognitive variations that affect learning and require specialized instruction, accommodations, modifications and other supports.

LDA calls attention to the potentially devastating, lifelong effects of this disorder and the necessity for accurate timely diagnosis and prescriptive individualized instruction. Site Search. Parents Educators Adults Professionals. LDA supports RTI as one component of a comprehensive determination of eligibility, specifically: LDA supports the appropriate implementation of the first two tiers of RTI for the purpose of ensuring that the children eventually identified as SLD participated in programs providing effective instruction.

Such practices should help reduce so-called false positives identification of children who seem disabled but who in fact, have not received appropriate instruction.