What is a Specific Learning Disability?
It is my personal belief that all children learn differently and labels are not necessary to meet the needs of all learners in an inclusive classroom. Up until recent years, the State of Massachusetts did not require a label to be put on students with learning differences, however the regulations now stipulate that students must fall under a specific label or category in order to receive services. This change was made in order to align more closely with Federal regulations. One of the most common categories is Specific Learning Disability.
A Specific Learning Disability is defined by The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) established in 1975 to be “a disorder in 1 or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations.” In other words, something that is making traditional classroom education challenging for your child. It is my personal belief that we all learn differently, and each classroom teacher should be able to present information in different ways to meet the needs of all types of learning styles in the classroom. Best teaching practices should include teacher training and presentation of materials in a variety of modes for all children. Frequent data should be collected to determine mastery of material and repetition or extra practice provided to any student until mastery can be achieved.
I will talk more about other categories in an upcoming post as well as how to begin the process. You can find information on both of those topics if you go to my resources page with direct links to this information on the state websites.