Identifying Characteristics of a Learning Disability

Identifying Characteristics of a Learning Disability
Identifying Characteristics of a Learning Disability Identifying characteristics of a learning disability: Understanding
Identifying characteristics of a learning disability is a critical component in the learning process. A definition of any disability provides parameters for discussing the condition and should offer a basis for the identification process. A learning disability is a condition that either prevents or significantly hinders somebody from learning basic skills or information at the same rate as most people of the same age. It is usually identified in children of normal intelligence who have difficulties in learning specific skills. The disorders affect a broad range of academic and functional skills, including the ability to speak, listen, read, write, spell, reason and organize information. People with a learning disability do not have mental retardation, nor are they slow learners.

Identifying characteristics of a learning disability: Assessment
The process for identifying the characteristics of a learning disability and the associated functional capacities and limitations is determined by several variables. Prior to the late 1960s, children whose failure to learn could not be explained by mental retardation, visual impairments, hearing impairments, or emotional disturbance were disenfranchised from special education. Their learning characteristics simply did not correspond to existing categories of special education. Thus, the needs of these children were not being met by the educational system. It was through parental and professional advocacy efforts that special education services were ultimately made available for them through the 1969 Learning Disabilities Act. The same legislative language later appeared in the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA), now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Identifying characteristics of a learning disability: Remedial action
Identifying characteristics of a learning disability have been refined over the years, allowing more children with these special needs to be served. Since the mid-1970s, when the EAHCA first required an accounting of the number of children with a learning disability identified and served in public schools, the number of children served has increased from 1.8 percent to more than four times that amount. In the past 10 years, the number of students age 6-21 identified with a learning disability has increased 38 percent, with the largest increase (44 percent) among students between 12 and 17 years of age. These increases are not limited to public schools. The number of students identified with learning disabilities that attend private schools and post-secondary institutions has increased by similar proportions in the same time period. The concept of learning disability is valid, and there are many children and adults whose difficulties in learning are indeed the result of genuine learning disabilities. But there is hope. At LearningRx, we have proven methods that help people of all ages with learning disabilities improve their skills. Contact a local LearningRx center or go to www.learningrx.com.

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