Ld White Paper

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February 2010 LDA White Paper 1

The Learning Disabilities Association of America’s White Paper on Evaluation, Identification, and Eligibility Criteria for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities The background and reason for the White Paper became apparent when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Statute was published in 2004. Members of the LDA Board of Directors were pleased that the definition of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) remained intact. But when the Regulations were published in 2006, it was surprising to find that the SLD evaluation criteria and identification criteria were no longer aligned with the SLD definition in IDEA. Both of these criteria changed from taking the cognitive nature of SLD into consideration, to instead aligning IDEA with the regulations in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA/NCLB) and putting the emphasis on identifying students who are not achieving adequate for the child’s age or the attainment of State‐approved grade‐level standards, not abilities. In effect, the new criteria virtually eliminated a great many students with SLD, including some who have high academic achievement in some areas but markedly low achievement in other areas. In 2008 LDA partnered with a group of professionals who were also concerned that the cognitive nature of SLD was not given much, or in some cases, no consideration but rather was looked upon as a condition that is educational in nature. The idea for the White Paper grew out of this partnership of professionals and members of LDA and was presented at a Symposium held at the LDA International Conference held in Baltimore, February 2010. We want to give our great appreciation and thanks to James B. (Brad) Hale Ph.D. an eminent neuropsychologist, who took on the Herculean task of authoring both the Survey and the White Paper. Brad is an outstanding writer and his dedication to the evaluation, identification and education of students with learning disabilities was made evident through the countless hours he spend gathering data and using that information to draw the conclusions that are presented in the paper. This White Paper is his gift to LDA and we are extremely grateful. We also want to express our gratitude to Monica McHale Small Ph.D. Monica, who serves on the Board of the National Association of Pupil Service Providers, undertook the effort of sending the Survey to members and friends of her association. The response she received was extremely impressive and greatly added to the findings of the Survey sent out by LDA. We especially want to thank the following members of the White Paper Expert Panel, esteemed professionals from around the country, who took time to express their support for students with SLD and their concern over the evaluation and identification system put into place with the reauthorization of the IDEA in 2004. Hale, J., Alfonso, V., Berninger, V., Bracken, B., Christo, C., Clark, E., Cohen, M., Davis, A., Decker, S., Dumont, R., Elliott, C. Feifer, S., Fiorello, C., Flanagan, D., Fletcher‐Janzen, E., Geary, D., Gerber, M., Gerner, M., Goldstein, S., Gregg, N., Hagin, R., Jaffe, L., Kaufman, A., Kaufman, N., Keith, T., Kline, F., Kochhar‐Bryant, C., Lerner, J., Marshall, G., Mascolo, J., Mather, N., Mazzocco, M., McCloskey, G., McGrew, K., Miller, D., Miller, J., Mostert, M., Naglieri, J., Ortiz, S., Phelps, L., Podhajski, B., Reddy, L., Reynolds, C., Riccio, C., Schrank, F., Schultz, E., Semrud‐Clikeman, M., Simon, J., Silver, L., Swanson, L., Urso, A., Wasserman, T., Willis, J., Wodrich, D., Wright, P., & Yalof, J. (2010). Patricia Lillie, President Learning Disabilities Association of America February 2010

February 2010 LDA White Paper 2

Critical Issues in response‐to‐intervention, comprehensive evaluation, and specific learning disabilities identification and intervention:…