16. Reducing LD

One factor in overidentification of LD children is the rush to place dictated partly by the 60 day time line to process referrals (cf. 3 Reducing LD). It creates a false sense of urgency without regard for the long-term consequences of misplacement. When a team takes time to investigate the child’s learning experiences in the classroom, the teacher’s referral is put in context. Native American children process formal learning differently from other groups of children.

Therefore, it makes sense to gather classroom data “observed in the learning environment.” Such data ethnographically can be useful to exclude minority children from learning disability placement. Consider the regulations (IDEA 2004 regulations, Education Legacy):

“The public agency must ensure that the child is observed in the child’s learning environment (including the regular classroom setting) to document the child’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty.

The group described in 34 CFR 300.306(a)(1), in determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, must decide to:

Use information from an observation in routine classroom instruction and monitoring of the child’s performance that was done before the child was referred for an evaluation; or

Have at least one member of the group described in 34 CFR 300.306(a)(1) conduct an observation of the child’s academic performance in the regular classroom after the child has been referred for an evaluation and parental consent, consistent with 34 CFR 300.300(a), is obtained.”

There is too much reliance on child performance data taken completely out of context.

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