What Causes Dyslexia?
Developmentally, this learning disability originates at birth or by acquired injuries through accident, trauma, or disease.
It is estimated that at least 2.19 to 20 percent of the entire population suffers from dyslexia, the most prevalent type of learning disability. In regard to numbers of students who are learning disabled, 4.39 percent have been identified as learning disabled of a total of 8.75 percent disabled students being served in our schools (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2002). We estimate at least half of these students would be classified as dyslexic. As a specific type of learning disability, dyslexia falls under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990, P.L. 101-476:
...a disorder in one or more of basic psychological processes involved in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage... (USDOE, 2002)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (P.L. 101-476) of 1990 and 1997 (P.L. 105-17) is a reauthorization of the more familiar P.L. 94-142 (1975) federal legislation, which was called the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EOAHC). IDEA includes 1983 (P.L. 98-199) (provided funds for planning state services for young children with disabilities ages birth to 5 years of age) and 1986 (P.L. 99-457) (required states to provide services for preschool children) amendments to P.L. 94-142 and a USDOE 2003 reauthorization. Essentially, IDEA is a federal law that provides detailed specifications as to how special services will be administered to disabled children. All disabled children are guaranteed a free and appropriate education under this act. The Federal Office of Special Education Programs, directed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, is responsible for its implementation. A major change in the P.L. 94-142 (USDOE, 1977) legislation involved deletion of the use of the term handicapped,replacing it with the term disabilities. Additionally, IDEA now requires the transition services for students leaving high school be written into a student's individual education plan (IEP). Typically, sections 617 and 618 of the regulations are referred to by professionals when looking at EOAHC (P.L. 94-142), and sections 1417 and 1418 are referenced with IDEA (P.L. 101-476, 1990).
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