Wonderful Buddha

Go beyond language, go beyond thought.

– Bodhidharma

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Education dept. Learning disabilites

History of Learning Disabilities
In 1974, after an in depth study of the history of learning disabilities, Wiederholt formed four categories of historical periods in time in which learning abilities were being addressed. Essentially it is the evolution of our knowledge and understanding of the learning disabilities.

The Foundation Phase
The “foundational phase” is the name given to the period of time from 1800-1930. Great amounts of research were done on the brain, brain injuries, and language and perception skills.

The Transition Phase
The transition phase, beginning in 1930, shifted the field of neurology into the field of education by Heintz, Werner, and Strauss. The study of children in areas of brain research became an important theme in this period of transition. This phase came to a close in 1960 as the integration stage began.

The Integration Phase
The Integration Phase (1960-1974) is the period of time in which the term “learning disability” became the official title for this field. Identifying learning disabilities in school programs became a major focus. Perceptual skills and understanding the nature of learning disabilities became refined areas of research.

The Current Phase
Beginning in 1975, the Current Phase is the area of knowledge and understanding we are presently in. Academic, Behavioral, Cognitive, and Language areas are major areas of focus. Helping students achieve academically within the general education program is the goal of researchers today.

The Causes of Learning Disabilities?
Presently, there is no specific answer to this question. It is clear that the causes are complex and difficult to define and refine and understand. Today, we study three major areas, neurological, genetic, and environmental. IDEA 04 defines learning disabilities as a neurological problem.

Neurological development
Neurological areas of research include brain injury, brain development, and Brain structure. Research suggests that the central nervous system is generally exhibiting at least one of these characteristics. Modern research proposes that learning disabilities are a result of a slower process of neurological development, NOT a loss of neurological function.

Genetic causes
This area of research has yet to provide any solid evidence…yet is it logical to consider that genetically inherited disorders is a potential reality.

Environmental causes
Research shows evidence that environmental factors can cause learning disabilities. The environmental factors are groups into those that develop prenatally, perinatally, and postnatally

Prenatal factors
Prenatal factors known to harm the fetus are maternal use of alcohol, drugs, and smoking while pregnant. Mothers who use drugs (illegal or prescription), drink alcohol, and smoke cigarettes put their children at risk in many areas beyond learning disabilities

Perinatal and Postnatal factors
Perinatal factors general occur at birth or shortly after birth. When the baby does not receive sufficient oxygen, for example, this can lead to many problems.
Postnatal factors occur after the child is born. Children who do not receive what they need to maintain a healthy body and a healthy emotional state generally struggle harder to learn at the same rate as children that do receive what they need.

Response to Intervention (RTI)
This program operates with the intention to help all students attain expected academic performance. Scientific research-based interventions are used to achieve this goal.
The problem-solving approach is used by professionals to determine the type of intervention needed. The standard treatment protocol approach uses one universal intervention designed to help all students.

RTI refinement
Many areas of research continue to provide answers about how long intervention should take place and to what extent. The type of intervention and the methods used continue to evolve as more research is gained. Currently, standardized testing is used to determine a students progress. Many researchers are developing new methods to teach and to monitor student development.

Definitions: IDEA ‘04
Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
Disorders not included. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.