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- Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities A Step-by-Step Guide for Educators.pdf
- Learning disabilities : characteristics, identification, and teaching strategies
- 5 Most Common Learning Disabilities
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Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities A Step-by-Step Guide for Educators.pdf
A brief overview of the approach is provided, including attributes, characteristics, and promising features, as well as issues, concerns, unanswered questions, and research needs. Issues related to RTI implementation, including use as an eligibility mechanism, parent participation, structure and components, professional roles and competencies, and needed research, are addressed. The report is neither a position paper nor a "how-to guide" for implementing an RTI approach. In the past few years, RTI has taken on a more specific connotation, especially in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of IDEA , 2 as an approach to remedial intervention that also generates data to inform instruction and identify students who may require special education and related services.
Today, many educators, researchers, and other professionals are exploring the usefulness of an RTI approach as an alternative that can provide 1 data for more effective and earlier identification of students with LD and 2 a systematic way to ensure that students experiencing educational difficulties receive more timely and effective support Gresham, ; Learning Disabilities Roundtable, , ; National Research Council, ; President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education, A key element of an RTI approach is the provision of early intervention when students first experience academic difficulties, with the goal of improving the achievement of all students, including those who may have LD.
In addition to the preventive and remedial services this approach may provide to at-risk students, it shows promise for contributing data useful for identifying LD. Thus, a student exhibiting 1 significantly low achievement and 2 insufficient RTI may be regarded as being at risk for LD and, in turn, as possibly in need of special education and related services.
The assumption behind this paradigm, which has been referred to as a dual discrepancy L. Core concepts of an RTI approach are the systematic 1 application of scientific, research-based interventions in general education; 2 measurement of a student's response to these interventions; and 3 use of the RTI data to inform instruction. The consensus of the 14 organizations forming the LD Roundtable 3 was that data from an RTI process should include the following:. Three major developments concerning the education of students with learning problems have coalesced to establish RTI as a promising approach.
Second, special education has been used to serve struggling learners who do not have LD or other disabilities. An RTI approach has been suggested as a way to reduce referrals to special education by providing well-designed instruction and intensified interventions in general education, thereby distinguishing between students who perform poorly in school due to factors such as inadequate prior instruction from students with LD who need more intensive and specialized instruction.
A third major reason for the increased interest in an RTI approach has been the abundance of recent research on reading difficulties, in particular, the national network of research studies coordinated by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development NICHD.
A number of NICHD research studies have demonstrated that well-designed instructional programs or approaches result in significant improvements for the majority of students with early reading problems.
These findings make a strong case for systematically providing early intervention in basic reading skills in primary grade general education classrooms. An RTI approach resembles various initiatives from the past two decades to establish collaborative or consultative problem-solving mechanisms to design and implement effective interventions within general education for students who are experiencing difficulties.
These mechanisms have been referred to as teacher assistance teams, regular education initiatives, prereferral interventions, and problem-solving teams. The exact composition and characteristics of such a collaborative problem-solving process may vary. It may involve professionals from general education, special education, English language learning, and pupil personnel services, as well as administrators and parents.
Participants may interact in different ways e. The constant factor is the use of a systematic problem-solving process involving such steps as 1 identifying and analyzing the problem, including collection of baseline data; 2 generating possible strategies or interventions; 3 implementing an intervention plan; 4 monitoring student progress to determine success; and 5 reviewing and revising plans as needed.
The application of RTI is typically understood within the context of a multitiered model or framework that delineates a continuum of programs and services for students with academic difficulties. Although no universally accepted model or approach currently exists, the many possible variations can be conceptualized as elaborations on or modifications of the following three-tiered model:.
Ongoing, curriculum-based assessment and continuous progress monitoring are used to guide high-quality instruction. Variations on this basic framework may be illustrated by options often found within Tier 2. For example, Tier 2 might consist of two hierarchical steps, or sub-tiers e.
Alternatively, more than one type of intervention might be provided within Tier 2 e. RTI is a critical component of a multitiered service delivery system. The goal of such a system is to ensure that quality instruction, good teaching practices, differentiated instruction, and remedial opportunities are available in general education, and that special education is provided for students with disabilities who require more specialized services than what can be provided in general education.
The continuous monitoring of the adequacy of student response to instruction is particularly relevant to an RTI approach as a means of determining whether a student should move from one tier to the next by documenting that existing instruction and support is not sufficient. For example, in moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3, insufficient responsiveness to high quality, scientific, research-based intervention may be cause to suspect that a student has a disability and should be referred for a special education evaluation.
In addition, however, the right of a parent, state education agency, or a local education agency to initiate a request for an evaluation at any time is maintained in IDEA The role and level of involvement of parents and families in an RTI approach can be shaped by answers to questions such as the following:. A concern often expressed by parents of students with LD about an RTI process is whether ongoing, meaningful involvement in their child's education will depend more on their own knowledge and initiative than on school efforts.
An RTI approach, with its focus on student outcomes, may increase accountability for all learners within general education whether or not they are eventually referred for special education and related services. An RTI approach promotes collaboration and shared responsibility among general educators, special educators, teachers of English language learners, related service personnel, administrators, and parents.
In additional to these general education benefits, proponents of an RTI approach cite several other potential benefits:. The use of RTI for determining eligibility for special education and related services has generated controversy, both on practical and conceptual grounds. These concerns focus on systematic errors and accuracy in identifying students with LD. For example, the underachievement criterion may exclude some high-ability students with LD from special education. These students, by compensating with their intellectual strengths and making good use of support services, often manage to achieve within the normal range and, therefore, are unlikely to receive the early individualized instruction that would enable them to make academic progress consistent with their abilities.
As another example, there are students who are underachievers and do not respond to intervention who may be inappropriately identified as having a learning disability. This includes environmentally disadvantaged, minority, and English language learners who are overrepresented within the population of underachieving students and students who are at risk and in need of specialized supports and instruction for other reasons e.
Although RTI alone is not sufficient to identify a learning disability, RTI data could serve as an important component of a comprehensive evaluation for the identification of a learning disability and the determination of eligibility for special education and related services. Thus, RTI can establish a pool of at-risk students who may be in need of the multifaceted evaluation required by IDEA to determine if the student has a learning disability. However, research on large-scale implementation of RTI will be necessary to determine the efficacy of RTI for differentiating students with LD from those with other disabilities and from students without disabilities.
Before implementation of one of the many RTI models can begin in a district, several basic decisions must be made about the structure and components to be selected, as well as how students will move through the process. Selecting Structure and Components. The most basic decision is selecting and defining the specific structure and components of the service delivery system that will be used.
Current RTI implementation models use a generally similar structure with some common components, but they also show variations. Some initiatives include relatively rigid tiers, while in others the number of tiers varies in different school districts, depending on resources and other factors.
For example, a district might adopt a "standard protocol" model with two fairly rigid tiers e. The model and components selected will influence the personnel, resources, and decision-making processes to be implemented. Balancing Rigidity and Flexibility.
As RTI models become more widely implemented in schools, questions are being raised about the degree of rigidity or flexibility built into the implementation. A relatively stable framework involving greater consistency across schools, districts, and states may increase the opportunity and likelihood that successful models can be researched and replicated. On the other hand, flexibility in timelines and structure can be more responsive to the uniquely individual needs of students with LD and maximize problem-solving opportunities.
That flexibility requires staff with a broad range of skills and competencies and who are comfortable in a less structured environment. The flexible approach also makes both meaningful research and replication more problematic. Movement Within and Between Tiers. At present there is little agreement or data about what specific criteria or cut scores optimize decisions about movement through the tiers.
Similarly, the mandate that scientific, researched-based instruction be used limits the choices for beginning reading instruction and raises difficult questions about instructional options in such areas as mathematics, reading comprehension, and written expression, in which few scientific, research-based interventions exist at the elementary or secondary level.
Intervention Fidelity and Other Instructional Issues. Major challenges to implementation of an RTI model are decisions about selecting and monitoring research-based interventions that are matched to students and implemented with fidelity and appropriate intensity, frequency, and duration. Other instructional issues that must be resolved include the environments in which various interventions will be provided and who will provide the interventions. Also to be resolved are the scheduling and the time needed for the team decision-making process, programs, interventions, and supports.
To implement an RTI approach, many questions about ensuring adequate resources must first be resolved. Some of the challenges that must be addressed are as follows. Implementation of an RTI approach can be expected to create a need for decisions about adjustments in daily student, teacher, and administrative schedules and time for decision-making team meetings to be incorporated into school, personnel, and parent schedules.
Time for professional development will need to be allotted both prior to adopting a new approach and on an ongoing basis. Other critical decisions concern timelines for the phasing in of an RTI approach, the establishment of timelines for the minimum and maximum time a student may spend in various tiers, and how much time will be given to specific instruction or intervention efforts.
Space and Materials. An important part of successful implementation of an RTI approach is provision of needed space and materials. These will include space for conducting intensive small group or tutoring interventions, as well as the materials and technology required for professional development, evidence-based and intensive instruction, progress monitoring, evaluation, and record keeping.
For school personnel there will be increased paperwork due to data collection and documentation demands for the progress monitoring, classification criteria, movement between levels, intervention documentation, and other record keeping that are critical for following the progress of individual students in an RTI approach.
The President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education identified the amount of paperwork as the main cause of dissatisfaction among special education teachers. How much this would be ameliorated by the availability and use of computers and other technological devices and assistance from paraprofessionals, however, remains an unresolved question. Financial Support. Although several RTI models have been implemented in various parts of the United States, there is very little information available about the comparative costs of RTI with more traditional service delivery models.
However, the changing personnel needs, increased resource requirements, and added professional development activities typical of initial implementation of an RTI model all suggest there will be increased costs, at least in the short term.
Designated instructional services, such as speech and language, occupational therapy, educational therapy, and psychological services will also need continued funding.
It has been proposed that special education funds be used by general education to cover the cost of intensified instruction for students who are falling behind. If the number of students in special education were not to decrease, resources for students who are in need of special education and related services would have to be curtailed unless additional funds are allocated. NJCLD has long been concerned with the professional preparation of general education teachers, special education teachers, related service providers, and paraprofessionals who serve students with LD.
See NJCLD papers entitled Learning disabilities: Preservice preparation of general and special education teachers, ; Professional development for teachers, ; and Learning disabilities: Use of paraprofessionals, For all education professionals, the new instruction, assessment, documentation, and collaborative activities required for RTI implementation will create new challenges.
Decisions about these roles and resulting needed competencies include the following:. In some cases, the answers to such questions may influence an RTI approach adopted, suggest needed adaptations, prompt professional development efforts, or result in delay, scaling back, or abandonment of a specific RTI approach.
Answers to these questions may lead to additional ones, such as 1 are there competencies unique to successful teaching of students with LD, 2 how can the needed competencies be developed in novice and experienced professionals, and 3 which competencies best match the roles and competencies of RTI models? Competencies in LD. There may be an overlap between the competencies required of special education, general education, and related service providers.
Uncertainty exists about the levels of competence required for fulfilling the diagnostic, instructional, collaborative, and consultative roles expected of personnel who serve students with LD.
For example, an RTI approach will require that 1 general education teachers provide evidence-based, differentiated instruction, continuous data monitoring, and timely identification of nonresponsive students, and 2 the general education teacher or specialist will provide individualized, more intensive instruction for nonresponsive students in one of several settings.
These two examples suggest that schools will need a staff with a wide range of competencies. Other Factors Affecting Competency. One of the most fundamental questions about ensuring competence in teachers and related service professionals focuses on the skills critical for beginning professionals, in contrast to those expected of experienced, but perhaps less up-to-date, practicing professionals.
Most seem to agree that field experiences and mentoring are vital to the success and retention of beginning professionals.
Learning disabilities : characteristics, identification, and teaching strategies
A brief overview of the approach is provided, including attributes, characteristics, and promising features, as well as issues, concerns, unanswered questions, and research needs. Issues related to RTI implementation, including use as an eligibility mechanism, parent participation, structure and components, professional roles and competencies, and needed research, are addressed. The report is neither a position paper nor a "how-to guide" for implementing an RTI approach. In the past few years, RTI has taken on a more specific connotation, especially in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of IDEA , 2 as an approach to remedial intervention that also generates data to inform instruction and identify students who may require special education and related services. Today, many educators, researchers, and other professionals are exploring the usefulness of an RTI approach as an alternative that can provide 1 data for more effective and earlier identification of students with LD and 2 a systematic way to ensure that students experiencing educational difficulties receive more timely and effective support Gresham, ; Learning Disabilities Roundtable, , ; National Research Council, ; President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education, A key element of an RTI approach is the provision of early intervention when students first experience academic difficulties, with the goal of improving the achievement of all students, including those who may have LD. In addition to the preventive and remedial services this approach may provide to at-risk students, it shows promise for contributing data useful for identifying LD.
Learning disabilities: characteristics, identification, and teaching strategies Changing definitions of learning disabilities -- Medical aspects of.
5 Most Common Learning Disabilities
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