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Persons with Learning Disabilities


Chapter 6 Persons with Learning Disabilities Learning Disabilities Samuel Kirk, 1962 A retardation, disorder or delayed development in one or more of the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Persons with Learning Disabilities

Chapter 6
  • Persons with Learning Disabilities

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.

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
  • Visual, hearing, or motor handicaps
  • Mental retardation, emotional disturbances
  • Environmental disadvantage

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
  • May manifest in an imperfect ability to
  • READ

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)

Severe Discrepancy
  • Discrepancy between students 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

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

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

Foundation Phase 1800-1930
  • 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

Transition Phase 1930-1960
  • 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

Integration Phase (1960-1980)
  • Established disability area in US schools
  • Samuel Kirk- popularized term learning
  • 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

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

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

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

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
  • Heritability studies compare twins
  • Certain types of learning problems are more
    common among identical twins than fraternal twins

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

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

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

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

(No Transcript)
Academic Characteristics
  • Deficits in

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

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

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

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
  • Crucial for word recognition and reading

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

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

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

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

  • Norm-referenced
  • Criterion-referenced
  • Curriculum based
  • Portfolio

Figure 6.5 Educational Placements of Students
with Learning Disabilities
Instructional Approaches
  • Cognitive Training
  • Self Instruction
  • Mnemonic Strategies
  • Direct Instruction
  • Skill training
  • Task analysis
  • Learning Strategies
  • Strategies Intervention Model (SIM)

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

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

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

Transition Planning Smith 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

Post-secondary Accommodations (Section 504 of PL
  • 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

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 students needs
  • Use to enrich and extend the curriculum
  • Provide opportunity and encouragement to practice
    using technology to empower and achieve greater
    levels of independence

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
  • 1997 IDEA inclusion of students with disabilities
    in state and district-wide assessments
  • Impact of the reauthorization of IDEA in 2004