Identifying students who have SLD and are eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) can be a complicated process. On this website, you’ll find resources and information to help you navigate that process and improve policies and practices—whether for your own child or for those you serve.
SLD & COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented districts with new challenges related to how to appropriately evaluate whether students are eligible for special education, particularly where students are learning virtually. At the same time, federal law remains unchanged and districts must continue to evaluate students within the required time frames. NCLD and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) have developed Navigating Special Education Evaluations for SLD Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, a report that provides recommendations to adapt state policies on evaluations for SLD in light of the pandemic. These recommendations can ensure that students get timely and thorough evaluations to develop educational programs that meet their needs.
8 Principles to Guide the Evaluation Process
Working together, 11 national organizations developed Eligibility for Special Education Under a Specific Learning Disability Classification. This resource lays out the critical elements of a quality evaluation process when SLD is suspected. Using these principles, you can compare your current practices and determine areas that might need improvement.
Principles for SLD Eligibility: Practice & Policy Considerations for States and School Districts
Using the joint principles (above) as the foundation, the following organizations partnered to develop more robust resources on three of the principles.
States and districts play important roles in setting up the infrastructure necessary for high-quality identification practices. These resources highlight policy and practice considerations that can support the implementation of these joint principles and encourage districts to move toward high-quality identification and evaluation processes.
Additional Partner Resources
The content in the following resources is solely the responsibility and product of their authors or issuing organizations and does not necessarily represent the official views of the any of the partner organizations. Unlike the Joint Principles, these resources cannot be assumed to have the endorsement of all partner organizations.
NCLD White paper: Evaluation for Specific Learning Disabilities: Allowable Methods of Identification & Their ImplicationsMeghan Whittaker (NCLD) and Matthew Burns, Ph.D. (University of Missouri)
This paper aims to provide parents, educators, and school professionals, and policymakers with a common language and shared understanding of terms related to data-based problem solving approaches to improve practice and better serve all students.
NCLD White paper: What a Specific Learning Disability Is Not: Examining Exclusionary FactorsMeghan Whittaker (NCLD) and Samuel Ortiz, Ph.D. (St. John’s University)
This paper explores of the exclusionary criteria that exist in federal law to ensure that schools consider the primary cause of learning challenges before a child may be determined to be eligible for special education due to a specific learning disability. It also describes the implementation challenges facing the field related to these factors.
NCLD White paper: Data-Based Problem Solving: Effective Implementation of MTSS, RTI, and PBISMeghan Whittaker (NCLD) and George Batsche, Ed.D. (University of South Florida)
This paper examines the history of the federally permissible methods to determine eligibility for special education due to a specific learning disability. It describes advantages, challenges, and research related to the evaluation frameworks and highlights selected state practices to demonstrate the variability in eligibility methods across the country.
Texas Center for Learning Disabilities: The Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities: A Summary of Research on Best PracticesTexas Center for Learning Disabilities. Jack Fletcher, Ph.D. (University of Houston) and Jeremy Miciak, Ph.D. (University of Houston)
This report reviews research on the identification of SLD and best practices for SLD identification.
NASP Position Statement: Identification of Students With Specific Learning DisabilitiesNational Association of School Psychologists
This resource is a statement of general agreement to guide the identification of students with specific learning disabilities.
LDA Core Principles: What Are Learning Disabilities?Learning Disabilities Association of America
LDA articulates its core principles for the construct of a learning disability.
LDA Core Principles: Evaluation and Identification of Learning DisabilitiesLearning Disabilities Association of America
LDA articulates its core principles for the evaluation and identification of learning disabilities.
ASHA: Written Language Practice PortalAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
This resource offers information on prevalence, intervention, assessment, and service delivery considerations for individuals with written language disorders.
ASHA: Spoken Language Practice PortalAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
This resource offers information on prevalence, intervention, assessment, and service delivery considerations for individuals with spoken language disorders.
NJCLD: LD Online Portal
National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities This site contains resources published in association with the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities.
Tell Congress: Pass the RISE Act
We need your help! Ask your member of Congress to support students with learning and attention issues.
Thanks to support from generous partners like you, we are able to create programs and resources to support the 1 in 5 individuals with learning and attention issues nationwide.