Learning Disabilities In Children

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Learning Disabilities in Children

Learning Disabilities in Children


Educators confront many challenges in working with children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, but no challenge causes more anxiety than being called upon to be a witness in a special education due process hearing. The authors review issues related to communication modality and placement of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, discuss reasons that school districts end up in due process hearings, and cite pertinent court cases. They also offer suggestions that may help educators to provide effective testimony and conclude by highlighting positive outcomes that can result from a hearing, regardless of the decision rendered.

Teaching is a stressful occupation. Every day, educators confront challenges--from preparing students for statewide testing to reporting signs of child abuse. These daily challenges can be trying, but probably no event produces more anxiety than being called upon to testify in a special education due process hearing. It is possible that an educator will never be called to testify during his or her career, but more than likely it will happen at least once. According to Newcomer and Zirkel (2009), the number of special education court cases increased tenfold from the 1970s to the 2000s. It therefore is only logical to assume that the number of due process hearings and court cases involving special education will increase, making it likely that special education professionals will appear as witnesses.

Main Body

Achievement/ability discrepancy is a criterion often used to determine whether a child has a learning disability and that whether the child is working up to expectations?. One method for determining the presence of a discrepancy was promulgated by the Illinois State Board of Education. To protect “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990” (ADA) provides for the protection from discrimination of persons with disabilities and allows claims for compensatory and punitive damages.

When a child has a learning disability, it means that he or she learns differently than most children, and that learning itself becomes more difficult than it is for most people. The learning disability is diagnosed using four standards. First, there must be a notable discrepancy between altogether cognitive ability and achievement. Ability is determined by using different types of intelligence tests. Achievement means performance in some academic area, such as math, reading or spelling.

The second is a processing deficit. Sometimes, a child's ability to process information is impaired. For example, visual memory may become weak. This makes it difficult for the child to remember what he sees. Another child may have difficulty processing the sounds she hears. She may face trouble discriminating between sounds that are similar, like 'f' and 's'.

Third, the processing deficit(s) must be shown to be rightly contributing to underachievement. For example, it is not enough to say that a child has visual-motor problems, the visual-motor weaknesses must be negatively impacting academic performance, say in handwriting quality. Likewise, the child who has problem processing and discriminating between sounds may have difficulty learning to read using phonics ...
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