Welcome to our blog about Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an SLD, you may wonder what this means and what challenges it can present. What are examples of SLD?
In this blog, we’ll explore SLD and provide some examples of different types of SLD. We’ll also talk about how SLD affects learning and give you some tips on how to help and manage students with SLD. So let’s get started!
Definition of Specific Learning Disability
People with specific learning disabilities (SLD) may struggle with various academic skills, including reading, writing, listening, speaking, and arithmetic. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides special education services to students with SLD who qualify as disabled (IDEA).
Each individual with a specific learning disability (SLD) may face their own set of obstacles and strengths due to the wide variety of SLDs. Dyslexia (reading difficulties), dyscalculia (math difficulties), and dysgraphia (writing difficulties) are all examples of specific learning disabilities (difficulty with writing). What is a learning disability? In addition, other forms of SLD can manifest in difficulty with motor control, language comprehension, expression, and information processing.
Significant challenges in learning, working, and socializing can result from SLD in persons of any age. Successful academic and social outcomes for people with SLD highlight the importance of providing them with the individualized support and reasonable accommodations they need to thrive. It answers what specific learning disability issues are.
Examples of Specific Learning Disabilities
Specific learning disabilities (SLD) come in various forms, and every individual with one may cope with the condition in their own unique way. Some ask what the three types of learning disabilities are, but there are more than three to discuss.
Typical manifestations of specific learning disability characteristics include the following:
- Those with dyslexia have a specific learning disability (SLD) that makes reading and understanding written language hard. Reading and writing can be challenging for people with dyslexia because they may have trouble with phonemic awareness, phonics, and word recognition, which The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity has a wealth of resources on.
- Counting, measuring, and comprehending numbers are just some fundamental math skills that people with dyscalculia struggle with. Someone with dyscalculia can struggle with not only the language of mathematics but also its symbols, processes, and solution to mathematical problems.
- Writing difficulties (dysgraphia) include things like illegible handwriting, misspelled words, and disorganized thought processes on paper, and are categorized as a specific learning disability (SLD). A person with dysgraphia may have trouble generating and organizing written ideas and fine motor skills, such as gripping a pencil.
- When someone has an auditory processing issue, they have trouble understanding spoken language despite having normal hearing. An auditory processing problem can make it hard for a person to hear and comprehend spoken language, which might hinder their ability to learn new vocabulary and follow directions.
- Difficulty taking in and making sense of visual information, such as what one might see on a blackboard or in a book, is characteristic of the specific learning disability known as visual processing disorder. People with VPD may have trouble reading, writing, doing math, and following visual instructions.
The preceding cases of SLD are only illustrative. Remembering that SLD can affect various people and require diverse talents and capabilities is vital.
Functional Performance for a Student
Students’ functional performance is measured by how successfully they carry out everyday tasks and activities in and out of the classroom. It may involve preparing for school, attending class, chatting with classmates, and finishing homework.
Special education professionals often look to the student’s functional performance when determining how their impairment hinders their ability to learn and engage in class. Typical methods of evaluating a student’s functional performance include assessments, observations, and other forms of data collecting; these findings then shape the creation of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
To help a student improve their general functioning, teachers might write functional performance goals into an Individualized Education Program (IEP). A student with a physical impairment may want to work on their mobility, while a student with a specific learning disability may want to focus on expanding their reading comprehension.
Educators and other professionals can help students with disabilities have as whole an educational experience as possible by considering the student’s functional performance.
Examples of Academic and Functional Performance
A student with a disability may need to focus on developing particular abilities to improve their overall functioning.
The following are some possible examples of functional performance objectives for a student with special needs:
- The ability to understand and be understood by others and convey one’s views and desires are aspects of communication that one can strengthen (the ability to understand spoken or written language).
- Goals in this area may center on developing more effective ways of interacting with peers, such as learning to start conversations, wait for one’s turn, and use appropriate social cues.
- Reading, writing, and arithmetic proficiency, as well as the student’s capacity to work independently on schoolwork, are all examples of scholastic abilities that could benefit from work on their part.
- Goals in this area may center on the student’s increased independence in personal hygiene, meal preparation, and clothing selection.
- The student’s capacity to walk, utilize a wheelchair, or use assistive technology could all be included in a category of mobility-related goals.
Students’ functional performance goals will vary according to their unique circumstances and capabilities. As part of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), these objectives should be formulated in light of the student’s functional performance and desired future educational and functional outcomes.
Desired Level of Academic and Functional Activities for a Special Needs Student
The academic and functional goals of a student with special needs will vary from student to student. The overarching purpose of special education is to help each student achieve the highest possible academic and personal success.
Professionals, including the kid’s parents or guardians, teachers, and specialists, will evaluate the student’s abilities, needs, and goals to establish the academic and functional performance appropriate for the student with special needs. An IEP, or Individualized Education Program, is created for each student based on an evaluation of their educational and functional needs.
The IEP should include academic and functional performance goals (i.e., the specific skills the student needs to focus on to improve their general functioning). These objectives must be realistic and quantifiable, based on the student’s present achievement.
A student with special needs should have challenging yet attainable academic and functional performance goals tailored to their specific requirements and aspirations. Every student, including those with special needs, has the potential to learn, grow, and flourish with the right kind of help and accommodations.
What Is the Most Common SLD?
Because SLD can impact people in various ways and involve multiple talents and abilities, it is challenging to identify the most common SLD. Dyslexia (reading difficulty), dyscalculia (math trouble), and dysgraphia (writing problem) are three of the most typically reported forms of SLD.
Nearly 20% of the population has dyslexia, says the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Dyslexia is a neurological problem that makes it difficult to read and decipher words, which can seriously affect a person’s academic and social development.
It’s crucial to remember that the prevalence of various forms of SLD might vary depending on factors, including the definitions and criteria used to diagnose SLD, the population investigated, and other considerations.
What Qualifies as a Specific Learning Disability?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines a specific learning disability as a “disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written,” which can manifest as impaired abilities in any or all of the following areas: listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, or arithmetic.
For a student to be diagnosed with a specific learning impairment (SLD), they must exhibit the following symptoms:
- The student must be diagnosed with an impairment that prevents them from participating in and benefiting from the school’s regular academic programs.
- The student’s struggles in the classroom can’t be traced back to a physical or mental impairment (such as blindness or a lack of hearing) or an emotional disorder.
- The student’s challenges in learning must be significant enough to interfere with their success in school.
- Learning challenges must be chronic and unresponsive to more common forms of academic support.
A student who satisfies these criteria may be eligible for special education services, such as an IEP designed to suit the student’s unique school success requirements. Each state may use a somewhat different set of diagnostic criteria and procedures when trying to detect SLD.
Jennifer Hanson is a dedicated and seasoned writer specializing in the field of special education. With a passion for advocating for the rights and needs of children with diverse learning abilities, Jennifer uses her pen to educate, inspire, and empower both educators and parents alike.