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Chapter 1

Chapter 1.docx

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Ernie Mac Kinnon

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[ CHAPTER ONE ] LEARNING DISABILITIES AND RELATED MILD DISABILITIES THE CHANGING SCENE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION  1975: stucation for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) - 1 sp’ edu law - identified each category of exceptional children in sp’ edu, along w/ actual prevalence rates for each category of disability  2004 – present: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act - cont`s original law  Composition of students with all disabilities: - learning disabilities = 48% - lang impairment = 20% - mental retardation = 9% - emo’al disturbance = 8% - other = 15% (including ―other health impairment‖ and low-incidence categories)  For a student to be eligible for sp’ edu services, must have identified category of disability tht adversely impacts edu’al performance Recent Changes in State Certification for Special Education Teachers: Categorical and Cross-Categorical Certification  Example: cross-categorical classes typically consist of students w/ D, MR, and E/B D’s What Are Mild Disabilities? nd  Some states certify teachers categorically, while in some elementary & 2 ary schools they cross-categorize w/ programs designed for mild disabilities often including LD, MR, E/B D, and other disabilities and receive instruction in general edu classrooms (GEC) w/ support and collab of sp’ edu teachers  To complicate more, each category of disability has diff levels (mild/moderate/severe)  *note: mild dN mean ―not serious‖; being ―just a little diff‖ can indeed by very serious  Examples: disorders of attention, poor motor abilities, reading/writing/math difficulties, poor soc skills LEARNING DISABILITIES  … = refers to neurobio’al D in 1/more of basic processes involving in understanding spoken/written lang  Term first intro’d 1963 when concerned parents and educators met to consider linking categories together (such as perceptual handicaps, brain-injured children, and neurologically impaired children)  Task of dvlp’g definition acceptable to all a formidable challenge The Federal Definition of Learning Disabilities  Most widely used definition appeared in 1975’s first sp’ edu law  Includes major concepts: 1.) indvdl has D in 1/more of basic psych processes (mental abilities, such as memory, auditory perception, visual perception, oral lang, and thinking) 2.) indvdl has difficulty in learning, specifically, in speaking, listening, writing, reading (word- recognition skills and comprehension), and mathematics (calculations and reasoning) 3.) problem not 1ly due to other causes, such as visual/hearing impairments, motor disabilities, MR, emo’al disturbance, or eco/en/cultural disadv↓  Op’nal definition in federal law, stating tht student has specific LD if: 1.) student dN achieve at proper age and ability levels 1/more specific areas when provided w/ appropriate learning exp’s 2.) student has severe discrepancy btwn achievement & intellectual ability in 1/more of 7 areas (oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, and mathematics reasoning) Other Significant Definitions of Learning Disabilities  National Join Committee on Learning Disabilities adds tht: 1.) LD related to CNS dysf`n and have bio’al basis 2.) LD may occur/coexist along w/ other disabilities/conditions 3.) problem intrinsic to indvdl and due to factors w/in person rather than ext’ factors  The Interagency Committee on Learning Disabilities includes: - soc skills deficits as characteristic of LD Common Elements in the Definitions of Learning Disabilities 1. CNS dysf’n 2. Cog processing differences 3. Difficulty in academic and learning tasks 4. Discrepancy btwn potential and achievement 5. Exclusion of other causes Central Nervous System Dysfunction  Difficult to detect by med exam or ext’ med tests  Usually dtrmn’d t/ obsv’n of beh’  Growing evidence of neurological basis for LD t/ fMRI studies Cognitive Processing Differences  Refer to uneven dvlpmt of various components of mental f’n’g  Example: motor abilities dvlp’d at anticipated rate, but reading abilities lagging tremendously Difficulty in Academic and Learning Tasks  Varies from child to child Discrepancy Between Potential and Achievement  Identification btwn gap very controversial  To dtrmn if discrepancy exists, must ask 3 essential q’ns: 1.) What is the indvdl’s potential for learning? 2.) What is the indvdl’s current achievement level? 3.) What degree of discrepancy btwn potential and achievement is ―severe‖?  Each state/school district/eval’n team can establish own method of defining severe discrepancy  Schools permitted to use response-to-intervention (RTI) to dtrmn eligibility for LD services Exclusion of Other Causes  Growing acceptance of comorbidity Differing Views of Learning Disabilities  Mel Levine: learning differences - concept tht all indvdls have variations in learning abilities - describes children as struggling to learn and are failing - arguing against use of term LD - stresses focus on dtrmn’g where student exp’g breakdown in learning (aar of indvdl diffs)  Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation: - mission of foundation: help students w/ learning difficulties to be successful in learning + life  American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV-TR: - term learning disorders used Gifted and Talented Children With Learning Disabilities  Often, children w/ LD, like gifted children, seem to req’ great deal of activity - may find GEC env uninviting  Teachers can meet unique needs of students whose strengths and talents lie outside narrow view of knowledge by: - helping students bypass deficits as they access their areas of strength - modify assignments and curricula for students so tht their true abilities may be demonstrated - create env’ tht nurtures personal creativity and intellectual characteristics Characteristics of Learning Disabilities  No one indvdl displays all characteristics & traits  Certain characteristics more likely to be exhibited at certain age levels i.e. young children more likely to be hyperactive than adolescents  Deficits manifested in diff ways at diff age levels i.e. lang D may appear as delayed speech problem in preschooler, as reading D in elementary pupil, nd and as writing D in 2 ary student Gender Differences  Clinics and schools identify 4 boys:1 girl who have LD  Gender research shows may actually be 1:1  Boys: - phys aggression - loss of ctrl  Girls: - more cog/lang/soc problems - severe academic achievement deficits in reading & math - more verbal - display less phys aggression  Explanations why more boys than girls identified: - biological causes—males may be more vulnerable to LD - cultural factors—b/c boys tend to exhibit more disruptive beh’s troublesome to adults - expectation pressures—expectations for success in school may be greater for boys than girls Characteristics at Different Stages of Life  Today we recognize tht LD become evident at many stages of life and appears in diff form at each stage  Substantial #s identified in age range of 9-14 The Preschool Level  Growth rates unpredictable (TF) educators generally reluctant to identify  Given non-categorical label such as developmental delay  Common characteristics: poor motor dvlpmt, lang delays, speech Ds, slow cog & concept dvlpmt, hyperactivity, poor attention  5% of all children receiving sp’ edu are in 3-5 age group The Elementary Level  Common beh’s in early yrs: inability to attend & concentrate, poor motor skills, difficulty learning to read  Common beh’s in later yrs: problems in soc studies or sci, emo’al problems, consciousness of failure, soc problems i↑’g  40% of all children receiving sp’ edu are in 6-11 age group The Secondary Level  Tougher demands, turmoil of adolescence, cont’d academic failure, and concern abt life after school combine to intensify LD  b/c adolescents tend to be overly sensitive, some emo’al/soc/self-concept problems often accompany LD  60$ of all students w/ LD in 12-17 age group The Adult Years  Some overcome/reduce/learned to compensate LD by end of schooling  For others, cont’ (and thus, limit career and to make/keep friends) and many voluntarily seek help to cope The Cross-Cultural nature of Learning Disabilities  Occurs in all cultures & nations in world Prevalence of Learning Disabilities  Estimates: 1-30% of school pop’n, w/ over 5% receiving services  w/ PL 94-152, nationwide count accomplished t/ individualized education program (IEP)  steady i↑ in %age of students identified w/ LD from 1978 – 2004 - an explanation: growing awareness of LD and more soc’ acceptance and preference for LD classification MENTAL RETARDATION Definition of Mental Retardation  many feel term is demeaning  American Association for Mental Retardation changed to American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities  Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA-2004): - significantly subavg’ general intellectual f’n’g existing concurrently w/ deficits in adaptive beh’ and manifested during dvlpmtal period  Before 1983: based on IQ scores - adaptive beh’ added in 1983 - IQ score lowered from below 85 to below 70 in 1983  Adaptive behaviour = collection of conceptual, soc and practical skills tht ppl need to f’n in everyday lives i.e. abilities in learning, (i) skills, self-care skills, soc responsibility  Revised definition by AAMR in 2002: - characterized by signification limitations both in intellectual f’n’g and in adaptive beh’ as expressed in conceptual, soc, and practical adaptive skills originating before age 18 Characteristics of Mental Retardation  Can learn academic skills, but learning rate is slow and need supports Levels of Mental Retardation  Traditionally based on IQ scores defined w/ mid/moderate/severe/profound  2002: AAMR recommended identifying 4 levels based on level of support needed 1.) intermittent support – provided as needed, and not at all times; ~ to mild 2.) limited support – provided on regular basis for short period of time; ~ to moderate 3.) extensive support – provided on ongoing and regular basis; ~ to severe 4.) pervasive support – consists of constant high-intensity help across env’ and involves more staff members; ~ to profound  Most have mild (87%)  Abt 41% of all students w/ MR in GEC an
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