What is a Learning Disability, Really? by Carol Murphy, MA, CCC-SLP

When a parent attends an IEP meeting and the educational experts tell them their child has a learning disability, most times there is confusion.  The reason is because the term can seem so broad that it can render itself almost meaningless.  Several years ago a study was undertaken with professionals, teachers and parents asked to define the term “learning disabilities”.  The results listed nearly 100 different definitions, almost as varied as the people who tried to define the term.  Although some parents feel comfortable with finally having a name for their child’s problem, or a teacher might find a diagnosis helpful to at last getting a student help,  it might be more useful to fully describe the issues and development, or lack thereof, that most students experience before finally being classified as a “child with a learning disability”. Written by Carol Murphy, MA, CCC-SLP (and reprinted with permission from The Special Education Advisor), The focus of this issue of NASET’s LD Report will be to examine what really defines a learning disability today.

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