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  • Guidelines for Identifying Students with Specific Learning Disabilities

    COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 10/7/08 (Reviewed 12/2011)

  • AcknowledgementsTherearemanypeopletothankforbeingapartofthisjourneytowardaverychangedwayofidentifyingandservingstudentswithSpecificLearningDisabilities.Thefollowingdedicatedpeoplehavebeenandstillarecriticaltomakingthisallhappenfortheimprovementofoutcomesforallstudents,especiallythosewithSLD. CandyMyers PrincipalConsultant,ExceptionalStudentLeadershipUnit ColoradoDepartmentofEducation

    SLDGuidelinesCommitteeSteveAxford AdenaMillerBarbBieber GerryOlveyJonceeFeakes DaphnePerelesJulieHoliday HollyPorterCathyLines MontinaRomeroPattyLuttrell PatSchniederjanGeorgiaMagnera MarySmock

    PCD/SLDCriteriaCommittee

    PattiAtkins AdenaMillerSteveAxford GloriaMillerBarbBieber GerryOlveySheilaBisel DaphnePerelesCindyDonahue HollyPorterJonceeFeakes KarenRutledgeJulieHoliday PatSchniederjanKarenKelly MarySmockPattyLuttrell ConnieSperbergGeorgiaMagnera ChristineVillard

    SpecialthanksgotoDr.GeorgeM.BatscheforreviewingtheGuidelinesandmakingrevisionrecommendationsthathaveresultedinenhancementstotheclarityandusefulnessofthisdocument.

  • Colorado State Board of Education (as of October, 2008)

    BOB SCHAFFER (R) Vice-Chairman

    4th Congressional District Ft. Collins, Colorado

    PAMELA JO SUCKLA (R) Chairman

    3rd Congressional District Slickrock, Colorado

    ELAINE GANTZ BERMAN (D) 1st Congressional District

    Denver, Colorado

    PEGGY LITTLETON (R) 5th Congressional District

    Colorado Springs, Colorado

    EVIE HUDAK (D) 2nd Congressional District

    Westminster, Colorado

    JANE GOFF (D) 7th Congressional District

    Aurora, Colorado

    RANDY DEHOFF (R) 6th Congressional District

    Littleton, Colorado

    Colorado State Board of Education

    State Board of Education Mission and Vision

    Mission The mission of the Colorado State Board of Education is to pro-vide all of Colorados children equal access to quality, thor-ough, uniform, well-rounded educational opportunities in a safe and civil learning environment.

    Vision All children in Colorado will become educated and productive citizens.

    DWIGHT D. JONES Commissioner of Education

    Secretary to the State Board of Education

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08)

    DISCLAIMER:

    TheidentificationofanyproductsofprivatevendorsintheseGuidelinesisonlyforthepurposeofprovidingexamplesanddoesnotconstitutetheDepartmentsendorsementofsuchproducts.

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08) 1

    TableofContents

    Section1:IntroductionandLaws(p.3) IntroductionLawsSummaryofshiftfromprevioustonewcriteriaandidentificationprocessAtaGlancesummaryofeligibilitycriteriaSection2:OverviewofRtI(p.15)RelevanceofRtItoSLDIdentificationRtIinColorado:Definition,Purpose&CorePrinciplesComponentsofRtIEssentialtotheIdentificationofSLD:

    o ProblemSolvingTeam&Processo TiersofInstruction/Interventiono Assessment:PurposesandTypeso FamilySchoolPartnership

    FrequentlyAskedQuestions(RtI)Section3:ReferralandEvaluation(p.37)ReferralMultidisciplinary(Eligibility)TeamMembersEvaluationPlanningPriorNoticeandConsentforEvaluationFullandIndividualEvaluationReevaluationandDeterminationofContinuedEligibilitySection4:SLDDetermination(p.47)CriteriafortheDeterminationofSLDExclusionaryFactorsLackofAppropriateInstructionDocumentationRequirementsDeterminationofDisability:SLD(CDEmodeldocument)Section5:EightAreasofSpecificLearningDisabilities(p.67)OralExpressionListeningComprehensionWrittenExpressionBasicReadingSkill

    ReadingFluencySkillsReadingComprehensionMathematicalCalculationMathematicsProblemSolving

    Section6:SpecialConsiderations(p.105)Preschool/YoungChildrenOlder/SecondaryStudentsTwiceExceptionalSpeechLanguagevs.SLDDeterminationEnglishLanguageLearnersSection7:FrequentlyAskedQuestions/SLD(p.115)GlossaryofTerms&KeyConcepts(p.123)Appendix(p.129)GeneralReferences&Resources(p.141)

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08) 2

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08) 3

    Section1

    - Introduction- Laws- Summaryofshiftfromprevioustonewcriteriaandidentificationprocess

    - AtaGlancesummaryofeligibilitycriteria

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08) 4

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08) 5

    GuidelinesforIdentifyingStudentswithSLD INTRODUCTIONSpecificLearningDisability(SLD)isanidentifiablecategoryofdisabilityinboththefederallaw,IndividualswithDisabilitiesEducationActof2004(IDEA2004),andColoradolaw,ExceptionalChildrensEducationAct(ECEA).ThisdisabilitycategorywaspreviouslyreferredtoinColoradolawasPerceptual/CommunicativeDisabilityorPCD.AsignificantshiftinthewaywethinkabouttheidentificationofSpecificLearningDisabilitieshasoccurred.ThereisheightenedemphasisthroughoutIDEA2004oneffectivecoreinstructionandinterventionthatwillresultinimprovededucationaloutcomesforallstudents,includingthoseatriskforlearningdifficultiesandthosewhomaybeidentifiedashavingSLD.Ensuringthatastudentisnotidentifiedashavingadisabilitybecauseofdifficultiesthatareduetolanguagedifferencesorinadequateinstruction,especiallyinthefiveessentialcomponentsofreadingandinmath,isalsoelevatedinimportance.TheimplementationofaResponsetoIntervention(RtI)/ProblemSolvingapproachtomeetinglearningneedsgreatlyincreasesthechancesthatappropriateinstructionisbeingprovided.Identificationprocessesthathaveoperatedinatest eligibility interventionmannerhaveoftenresultedinawaittofailphenomenonthatoccurswhenastudentishavingdifficulties,butisnoteligibleforintervention(viaspecialeducation)becausetheassesseddiscrepancybetweenaptitudeandachievementisnotyetlargeenough.Thisapproachhasnowgivenwaytoonethatprovidesinterventionsaspartofaproblemsolvingprocessattheearliestindicationofneed.Then,ifbothlowachievementandinsufficientprogressarestillevident,thestudentsresponsetothoseinterventions(RtI),alongwithotherrelevantdata,mayleadtoaspecialeducationreferralandadisabilitydetermination.Collaborationbetweenspecialeducationandgeneraleducationhaslongbeentheultimategoalofmanyschoolreformefforts.TheessentialcomponentsandbenefitsofaResponsetoIntervention(RtI)approachtoaddressingstudentlearningneedsarereferencedinbothgeneralandspecialeducationlawatthefederallevel,furtheringtheintegrationoflearningsupportforallstudents,includingthosewithidentifieddisabilities.TheIndividualswithDisabilitiesEducationAct(IDEA2004)andtheNoChildLeftBehind(NCLB)Actbothheavilyemphasizetheimportanceofthefollowing:

    earlyrecognitionoflearningdifficultiesthroughscreening;afocusonformativeassessmentthatdrivesinstruction;attentiontooutcomedata;

    The Regulations reflect the Departments position on the identification of children with SLD and our support for models that focus on assessments that are related to instruction and promote intervention for identified children.

    - Federal Register, vol. 71, no. 156, 8/14/06, p. 46647

  • SLD Guidelines/Colorado Department of Education (10/7/08) 6

    theimplementationofscientific,researchedbasedinstruction;explicitinstructioninthefiveessentialcomponentsofreading;theprovisionofsupplementaryinstructionorintervention;andincreasedparentalinvolvementinachildslearningandineducationaldecisionmakingprocesses.

    ItisexpectedthatthereauthorizationofNoChildLeftBehindwillcontainevenmoredirectreferencetoaResponsetoInterventionapproachtoimprovinglearningoutcomesforallstudents.ThecrossreferencingbetweenthetwoActsservestohighlighttheoverlapinapproachbetweengeneralandspecialeducation.AlloftheelementslistedaboveareessentialintheidentificationofSLDsandareincorporatedintothisguidancedocument.Thereisnolongertheneedtodeterminethatasignificantdiscrepancybetweenaptitude(intellectualpotential)andlevelofachievementexists.ThevalidityandreliabilityofthisapproachtoSLDidentificationhasbeenseriouslychallengedformanyyearsthroughextensiveresearch.

    Theassessmentofcognitiveprocessing(PCDIndicativeBehaviors)separatefromdirectassessmentsintheachievementdomainsisalsonotsupportedasnecessaryforeithereligibilitypurposesortoinforminstructionandintervention.Instead,avarietyofscreening,progressmonitoring,anddiagnostic/prescriptiveassessmentscanprovidetheinformationneeded.Acomprehensivereviewwasconductedthatcomparedapproachestotheassessment/identificationofstudentswithlearningdisabilities.Thefourapproachesreviewedwere:(a)aptitude/achievementdiscrepancies,(b)lowachievement,(c)intraindividualdifferences,and(d)responsetointervention.TheoverallfindingsuggeststhatmodelsthatincorporatebothRtIandlowachievementconceptshavethestrongestevidencebaseandthemostdirectrelationtointervention.Inaddition,ageneralconcernisexpressedaboutstatusmodelsofLDidentification;thatis,identificationbasedonassessmentconductedessentiallyatasinglepointintime.(Fletcher,Francis,Morris&Lyon,2005)DefiningaSpecificLearningDisabilityhasalwaysbeendifficultandhasreliedmoreheavilyonwhatitisnot,ratherthanspecifyinginclusionarycriteria.

    DefinitionissueshavebeenadifficulttopicsincetheoriginsoftheconceptofLDs.Theheartoftheconstruct,however,hasalwaysbeenthenotionofunexpectedunderachievement.ThepersonwithLDhasalwaysbeenconceptualizedasapersonwhoisunabletolearnadequatelyundercircumstancesthatshouldsupportpositiveoutcomes.Thus,LDshavebeentraditionallyidentifiedwhenapersonunderachievesdespiteanabsenceofotherconditionsassociatedwith

    Consensus reports and empirical syntheses indicate a need for major changes in the approach to identifying children with SLD. Models that incorporate RTI represent a shift in special education toward goals of better achievement and improved behavioral outcomes for children wit

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