6. Reducing LD

The eligibility group wishing to restrain the identification of learning disabled children must use common sense to see what kind of evidence supports denial or eligibility. There are children with emotional or behavioral problems who do not process accurately unless the right conditions prevail. Having a skilled behavioral therapist or psychologist establish the right tone for evaluation is essential. Some exceptionally bright children can perform well when they are calm and encouraged. The eligibility group should suspend judgment and request more data if the group believes the present data are dubious. This is a good use of professional know-how. Consider (IDEA 2004 regulations, Education Legacy):

“Each public agency must ensure that assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child under Part 300 are provided and administered in the child’s native language or other mode of communication and in the form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is clearly not feasible to provide or administer. [34 CFR 300.304(c)(1)(ii)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(b)(3)(A)(ii)]”

Many limited English children are classified learning disabled, confirming that eligibility groups are not getting the right kinds of quality data interpreted by persons who understand cultural and linguistic variation.

Experience suggests that groups almost never suspend judgment and ask for more or different data before final decisions are made. The proforma meeting is the mode of deliberation (cf. SLI misidentification).

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