What are Learning Disabilities? Learning disabilities (LDs) are real. They affect the brain's ability to receive, process, store, respond to and communicate information. LDs are actually a group of disorders, not a single disorder.
a “Specific Learning Disability means a disorder in one or more basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, dyslexia, or developmental aphasia.”
Students can be identified as having SLD in two areas of mathematics: computation and problem solving. Students with mathematics learning disabilities have poor understanding of number concept and the number system and skills that are the foundation of higher order mathematical skills. They have difficulty counting, understanding abstract concepts of time, temperature, speed and directions, remembering computation facts, estimating, solving word problems, among other mathematical difficulties (Bryant D., Bryant, & Hammill, 2000; Cawley, Parmar, Lucas-Fusco, Kilian, & Foley, 2007; Geary, 2004; 2007; Mercer & Pullen 2009; Watson & Gable, in press).
How many people are affected by LDs?Today, approximately 2.4 million school-aged children in the U.S. are identified as having specific learning disabilities (SLD) and receive some kind of special education support.1 These numbers do not include children in private and religious schools or those who are home-schooled.
About Learning Disabilities? Comorbid Disorders and SLD There are several disorders that may be comorbid or associated conditions that tend to occur together with SLD and should be considered during the evaluation process. However, it is incumbent upon eligibility teams to determine whether the SLD is the primary disability or not based on eligibility requirements outlined in the regulations. The comorbid disorders include: *Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) *EmotionalDisabilities *Speech and Language Impairment
Strategies, Interventions and Accommodations Science has made great strides in understanding the inner workings of the brain, and one important discovery that brings new hope for learning disabilities and disorders is calledneuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s natural, lifelong ability to change. Throughout life, the brain is able to form new connections and generate new brain cells in response to experience and learning.
Systematic and explicit instruction is a process in which the teacher: • tells students specifically what strategies they are going to learn, • tells them why it is important for them to learn the strategies, • models how to use the strategies by thinking aloud with a text, • provides guided practice with feedback so that students have opportunities to practice using the strategies, • provides independent practice using the strategies, • discusses with students when and where they should apply the strategies when they read, and • shares with the students, the importance of having the will to use the strateg