Specific Learning Disability

The Midland Academy’s Procedures for Determination of a Specific Learning Disability

This notice is designed to comply with the new State of Michigan requirement that each local school district publish its procedure for determining whether a student has, or continues to have, a specific learning disability. Beginning in September of the 2010/2011 school year, the Midland Academy began to use a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses model to determine whether a student exhibits a SLD.

What is a Specific Learning Disability?

A specific learning disability (SLD) is defined in law as “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 do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.  SLD does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage” (34 CFR § 300.8(c)(10)).   Response to Scientific, Research-Based Intervention Process  The student does not achieve adequately for the student’s age or to meet state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the student’s age or state-approved grade-level standards; and the student does not make sufficient progress to meet age or state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified when using a process based on the student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention.

What are areas of a Specific Learning Disability?

A student may exhibit a SLD in the areas of oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading fluency skills, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, and mathematics problem solving. The student must exhibit a pattern of strengths and weaknesses relative to these areas in performance, achievement, or both relative to age, State-approved grade-level standards, or intellectual development.

How are students identified as having a Specific Learning Disability?

The determination of a SLD will be based upon multiple sources of information including parent input, teacher input, individually administered tests of academic achievement and intellectual development, classroom observation, student performance on State-approved grade level standards, and other sources of information required by law or deemed pertinent by the evaluation team. A multidisciplinary evaluation team (MET) consisting of a certified teacher, a certified school psychologist, and possibly other members determined to be critical to the process, will prepare a written report documenting its analysis of the data gathered and its recommendation regarding SLD certification. The procedures outlined in this notice will be implemented in a manner consistent with all applicable Federal regulations and State rules regarding the evaluation and identification of specific learning disabilities.

Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses Process

The student does not achieve adequately for the student’s age or to meet state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified at 34 CFR § 300.309(a)(1)(i) when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the student’s age or state-approved grade-level standards; and the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, state-approved grade-level standards, or intellectual development, that is determined by the MET to be relevant to Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education Page 10 the identification of an SLD, using appropriate assessments, consistent with the IDEA Evaluation Procedures and Additional Requirements for Evaluations and Reevaluations.

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