Learning Disabilities

Understanding Learning Disabilities: Knowing The Child Is More Important Than Knowing The Law

The Goal Of Education. – How any times as parents, teachers, or administrators have we judged the needs of a child by reference to the grades on report cards or the scores on standardized tests? Are these data a valid indicator of the success of education? If you use the word “learning,” e.g., “The child is learning,” we must define the parameters of what we are supposed to be teaching. If we say that the child is “benefiting from his education,” we must know the purpose of “education.” Is the purpose of education to master the core curriculum or by doing so improve that individual’s ability to provide for himself, his family, and his community? If other skills are so deficient that mastery of the core curriculum is of no help in providing for self, family, or community (like a Mercedes automobile with no gas), does the responsibility of the educator go beyond the core curriculum and are grades and scores meaningful?

The Ability To Read Is The “Key To Success For Both Individuals And Democracy. – The title, including a quote from Marilyn Adams, says it all. Reading is not just another course like social studies, history, and math. It is the foundation upon which educational success is built.

Discrepancy Formulas Are Immoral. – Can there be agreement on an operational alternative?

The Double Deficit Theory: Basketball Players Make Bad Jockeys. – A different look at the “double deficit” theory. Could strength in one area result in a weakness in another area? Does strength in visual spatial skills compound the impact of a phonological weakness exhibited by dyslexics?

Dyslexia an Operational Definition. – A discussion of the history behind the development of the current (NIH) research definition of dyslexia.

Dyslexia – What is it Really? Personal Reflections and Scientific Fact. – Research based and antidote information to enhance and understanding of the remediation, compensatory strategies, and accommodations necessary to address deficits of the dyslexic learner, while recognizing and promoting his or her unique strengths and abilities.

Facilitator: Purpose and Rationale. – The key to a successful program for a student with a Nonverbal Learning Disability or an Executive Function Deficit in public school is an individual who is willing to oversee and facilitate each domain in his school environment.

Family Dynamics. – Related to Raising a Child with Disabilities.

Inclusion: a Storm Sometimes Brings Relief. – This article explores the real dangers and potential benefits of the philosophy of inclusion. Initially, it explores the legal requirements of Least Restrictive Environment and then addresses the practical considerations of inclusion on two populations of children in special education; children with developmental disabilities and children with learning disabilities.

Definition of Dyslexia. – On August 2, 2003, a scientific consensus meeting was held in Washington, D.C. to revisit and modify, if necessary, the research definition of Dyslexia that had been adopted by the National Institutes of Health in 1994. The discussions were heated and the whole experience reminded me of what it might be like being pulled out of a pencil sharpener – you are sharper, but with a shorter life expectancy. I am immensely proud to have served as the Project Leader of this initiative. A definitive article on the definition and it’s meaning prepared by G. Reid Lyon, Sally Shaywitz, and Bennett Shaywitz is planned to be published in the Fall.

Learning Disabilities: A Nosology. – An impediment to understanding learning disabilities is the lack of a recognized system of classification e.g., the Linnaean hierarchy including kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, etc. In this brief article I propose a classification system that helps me understand and explain learning disabilities and their manifestations.

The Link Between Learning Disabilities and Behavior. – This is an examination of the link between learning disabilities (L.D.) and antisocial behavior. A hypothesis is offered that suggests that sub-types of L.D. vary significantly in the severity of risk or predisposition to the development of antisocial behavior. It is argued that such risk is not properly addressed because of fundamental weaknesses in the system of special education that preclude effective intervention.

The Nature of Learning Disabilities. – The more research that is done in the field of learning disabilities, the more consensus there is on core issues while energetic debate continues to be fueled by new discoveries and cutting edge theories. The following discussion focuses on basic issues that have garnered majority consensus.

The Newtonian Mechanistic Paradigm. – An argument for a more whole person approach to identifying the needs of a child.

Preparing a Child with a Learning Disability for Success in College. – I once read a post apocalyptic novel where the survivors relied on technologies they could no longer reproduce for their survival, e.g., guns, refined fuels, canned foods. The hero of our story realized that the decline of civilization would be rapid and catastrophic unless it was arrested at a point where progress could be experienced. If I recall correctly, he started by introducing the making and shooting of bows and arrows as a game (such a skill was not yet necessary for survival). When society had declined to the point where such a skill was necessary, the decline was halted and progress was possible. This recollection got me thinking about the dilemma of the new college student with a learning disability. In high school people follow the student with a learning disability around introducing and making them use meta-cognitive skills that help them study, take notes, manage their time, and otherwise use the opportunities they have to learn productively and efficiently.

Peter: A Day in the Life of an AD/HD child. – We see Peter from the perspective of “Mom,” “Coach,” “Teacher,” “Dad,” a “Friend,” and finally “Peter.”

Rights vs. Reality: Knowing the child is more important than knowing the law. – Knowing the law is nice, but knowing the child is essential for effective advocacy. An appropriate diagnosis is of little value unless there is also a thorough understanding of behavioral manifestations and the essential elements of programmatic and treatment responses.

What Constitutes An “Informed” Teacher Of Structured Language Education?. – The best tools are useless without someone who knows how to use them. A new Porsche automobile is just a large paperweight if there is no one who knows how to drive it. The informed teacher is a necessary ingredient for successful instruction.

RTI: A Promise that Relies on the Capacity to Teach. – Good Ideas rely on the ability to implement. Success at learning depends on the capacity to teach.

Progress Monitoring is the Key to Successful Intervention. – Objective measures to monitor progress are essential to ensure meaningful growth.

Technology and Accommodations. – Intervention, Remediation, Compensatory strategies, Accommodations, and The Role of Technology.

Potential Requires Literacy to Grow into Opportunity. – The challenges of providing literacy remediation for adults.

Read The Label. – IEP’s make promises. Parents have the right to know how such promises are to be carried out. Informed instruction, teacher training, and working with the school district to achieve a common goal.

How Do I Thank a Word that has Changed my Life?. – Dyslexia, the ‘D’ word, the importance of a consensus understanding of meaning.

A Nosology for Learning Disabilities: A Foundation for the Bridge Between Research and Practice. – Without rules and a definition governing our understanding of Learning disabilities, progress, in the field will be problematic.

RTI: The Nutshell Revisited. – If RTI doesn’t work, it is not because the concept is faulty.

Danger! Poison! Radio Active! High Voltage! – Support and join the International Dyslexia Association, where research and practice meet to shape the future.

IEP: Honest and Informative or Smoke and Mirrors? – What is Wrong with IEP’s and why don’t they work?

My Story: I was with the ‘slow group,’ left back in 1st grade, and flunked out of college.