SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY
Federal Definition/Criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities
(10) Specific learning disability is defined as follows:
(i) General. The term 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 an 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.
(ii) Disorders not included. The term 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. * * *
34 CFR 300.540 Additional team members.
The determination of whether a child suspected of having a specific learning disability is a child with a disability as defined in § 300.7, must be made by the child's parents and a team of qualified professionals which must include-- (a)(1) The child's regular teacher; or (2) If the child does not have a regular teacher, a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a child of his or her age; or (3) For a child of less than school age, an individual qualified by the SEA to teach a child of his or her age; and (b) At least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.
34 CFR 300.541 Criteria for determining the existence of a specific learning disability.
(a) A team may determine that a child has a specific learning disability if-- (1) The child does not achieve commensurate with his or her age and ability levels in one or more of the areas listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, if provided with learning experiences appropriate for the child's age and ability levels; and (2) The team finds that a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the following areas-- (i) Oral expression. (ii) Listening comprehension. (iii) Written expression. (iv) Basic reading skill. (v) Reading comprehension. (vi) Mathematics calculation. (vii) Mathematics reasoning. (b) The team may not identify a child as having a specific learning disability if the severe discrepancy between ability and achievement is primarily the result of-- (1) A visual, hearing, or motor impairment; (2) Mental retardation; (3) Emotional disturbance; or (4) Environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
34 CFR 300.542 Observation. (a) At least one team member other than the child's regular teacher shall observe the child's academic performance in the regular classroom setting. (b) In the case of a child of less than school age or out of school, a team member shall observe the child in an environment appropriate for a child of that age.
34 CFR 300.543 Written report.
(a) For a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, the documentation of the team's determination of eligibility, as required by § 300.543 (a)(2), must include a statement of-- (1) Whether the child has a specific learning disability; (2) The basis for making the determination; (3) The relevant behavior noted during the observation of the child; (4) The relationship of that behavior to the child's academic functioning; (5) The educationally relevant medical findings, if any; (6) Whether there is a severe discrepancy between achievement and ability that is not correctable without special education and related services; and (7) The determination of the team concerning the effects of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. (b) Each team member shall certify in writing whether the report reflects his or her conclusion. If it does not reflect his or her conclusion, the team member must submit a separate statement presenting his or her conclusions.