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Types of Learning Disabilities (page 2)

— National Insititute of Child Health and Development
Updated on Dec 8, 2010

What is the treatment for learning disabilities?

While there is no direct cure for a learning disability, early screening and intervention from specialists can often provide great benefits. Early intervention can prevent learning difficulties, thus reducing the number of children requiring special education services.

Under the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, legislators made significant changes in how people with learning disabilities could be identified as eligible for special education services. This reauthorization allows for the optional use of the Response to Intervention (RTI) approach to determine whether a child has a specific learning disability and may receive special education services. There is evidence that the IQ-discrepancy model normally used is ineffective in identifying all students with learning disabilities; therefore many schools are implementing an RTI approach.

RTI is a tiered approach to educational intervention; the most common is a 3-tier model. The first tier provides high quality reading instruction to all students, with careful progress monitoring by teachers in the classrooms. Tier 2 is the same high quality instruction but with increased intensity for those not progressing well enough. If students do not progress with this more intensive instruction, they are identified for Tier 3, which is targeted special education intervention. Tier 3 students would have full evaluations and the establishment of an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Most children with learning disabilities are eligible for special assistance at school. An IEP should be developed for students who need special education and related services. An IEP includes specific academic, communication, motor, learning, functional, and socialization goals for a child based on his or her educational needs.

A number of parents' organizations, both national and local, provide information on therapeutic and educational services and how to get these services for a child. Visit http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/learningdisorders.html for a listing of these organizations.

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