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Chapter 1

PSYCH312 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Adequate Yearly Progress, Americans With Disabilities Act Of 1990, Rehabilitation Act Of 1973

Course Code
Ernie Mac Kinnon

of 8
1975: Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142)
- 1st spedu 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
Example: cross-categorical classes typically consist of students w/ D, MR, and E/B D’s
What Are Mild Disabilities?
Some states certify teachers categorically, while in some elementary & 2ndary 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
… = 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 1ly due to other causes, such as visual/hearing impairments, motor disabilities, MR,
emoal 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,
and as writing D in 2ndary 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 causesmales may be more vulnerable to LD
- cultural factors—b/c boys tend to exhibit more disruptive beh’s troublesome to adults
- expectation pressuresexpectations 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, emoal 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