13. Reducing LD

Current regulations add criteria for sorting out specific learning disability. The eligibility group can place a child under the following circumstances (IDEA 2004 regulations, Education Legacy):

“The child does not achieve adequately for the child’s age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards in ONE OR MORE [emphasis added] of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the child’s age or State-approved grade–level standards:

◦ Oral expression.
◦ Listening comprehension.
◦ Written expression.
◦ Basic reading skills.
◦ Reading fluency skills.
◦ Reading comprehension.
◦ Mathematics calculation.
◦ Mathematics problem solving.”

The door swings wide open to creative applications to reduce the number of children who are placed incorrectly in special education as learning disabled pupils. For example, the speech-language pathologist and the remedial reading specialist can collaborate in a general education preschool prevention program. Through objective evaluations they can prevent referral of at-risk children to special education. They can dwell on early literacy support.

In case a preschool child must be qualified for special education, the speech-language pathologist and the reading specialist can verify learning disability using one or more of the “areas” listed above. The child does not have to “wait to fail” according to norm-referenced testing. A child with early moderate delays of phonology and language will begin to fail in literacy as the early grades unfold.

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