Week Two Assignment

CharacteristicsIn this assignment you will demonstrate your understanding of the learning objective: Identify the characteristics and learning differences of students with mild to moderate disabilities based on the IDEA. Additionally, completion of this assignment represents an introduction to Course Learning Outcome 2 and MASE Program Learning Outcomes 1 and 2.Researchers have identified multiple potential causes as well as suggested interventions for children who have been identified as having mild to moderate learning disabilities. These strategies may include environmental, instructional, behavioral, and/or psychological approaches within the classroom or school setting. This information can be instrumental in the decision-making process, specifically for the IEP team, when developing a studentâ??s individualized goals and services. Using research-based interventions along with the studentâ??s present levels of performance, background and cultural influences, for the purpose of developing an individualized plan are the recommended procedure for supporting a studentâ??s needs.Assessments are one important measure of a childâ??s level of functioning. They can measure a variety of areas including academic performance, processing abilities, language comprehension and usage as well as many others. There are many types of informal and formal assessments that contribute to the overall picture of a studentâ??s abilities and which help to determine the gaps that need remediation. Whether conducted by a teacher or school psychologist, a report is written to explain the findings, which include current levels of functioning, strengths, and weaknesses.After reviewing Henryâ??s assessment report, you will contribute to his case study by completing the â??Backgroundâ? section. Instructions (This is what needs to be done)In this assignment you will read a Case Study, Henry, and then create the â??Background Historyâ? section using the characteristics of mild to moderate disabilities. In addition, you will explain how each determinant may impact his academic progress.Review Henryâ??s Case StudyI. Background History (This is what needs to be done)Week 2 AssignmentII. Reason for ReferralHenry is a transfer student to the school who enrolled approximately three weeks after the start of the school year. His previous school did not send past school records. Henry is currently in an inclusive classroom that is being co-taught by Mr. Franklin and you.Henry is a quiet young man who sits near the back of the classroom and is reluctant to participate in whole-group discussions. When asked to read aloud, Henry will comply; however, his verbal expression is reticent but he is able to decode each word. While reading silently during independent practice, he struggles with answering grade-level comprehension questions that require higher-level thinking skills. In group-work settings, Henry will volunteer for the secretary role to avoid peer engagement. III. Behavioral Observations during TestingDuring the reading portion of the education assessment, Henry told the assessor that he didnâ??t like reading because he â??isnâ??t very good at it.â? He also said that his mom takes him to the library once a week but he has a difficult time finding a book the he likes and usually ends up checking out a movie or CD instead. Although Henry mentioned, several times, how he does not like reading, he was willing to try each portion of the assessment and seemed to be putting forth his best effort. It is relevant to mention that after each subtest, Henry asked the assessor if he did â??a good job?â?Based on Henryâ??s overall performance on the education assessment and his academic history, the evaluation results appear to be a valid representation of his abilities.IV. Sources of Information, Tests, and ProceduresPersonal Observations and Interviews:Henry (student)Henryâ??s parents Teacher reportsClassroom observationFormal and Informal Assessments:Woodcock-Johnson Test of AchievementCurriculum Based Measurements (CBM)Student portfolioV. Test ResultsWoodcock-Johnson, Education Assessment: The following is a summary of Henryâ??s current performance in reading, math and language/content:Letter-Word Identification: Henry was asked to read a list of words beginning at his level of independence and gradually becoming more difficult. He scored within the low average range (standard score: 88)Word Attack: Henry was asked to decode (phonetically pronounce) a list of nonsense words using letter patterns that gradually advanced in difficulty. He scored within the low average range (standard score: 87)Passage Comprehension: Henry was asked to read a passage (beginning at his level of independence) silently and then verbally provide the omitted word. This subtest measured Henryâ??s level of reading comprehension. He scored within the low range (standard score: 77)Reading Vocabulary: Henry was asked to provide the antonym (opposite) and synonym (same) for two separate vocabulary lists, and then he was asked to complete analogies. He scored within the low range (standards score: 76)Writing Fluency: Henry was asked to formulate and write sentences comprised of three given words along with a pictures within a 7-minute timeframe. He scored within the low average range (standards score: 82)Writing Samples: Henry was asked to formulate sentences that combine visual and auditory information. There is no penalty, in this subtest, for basic writing, spelling or punctuation errors. He scored within the average range (standard score: 92)Math Calculation: Henry was asked to complete basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations gradually advancing in difficult to more complex computations involving decimals, fractions and geometry. He scored within the average range (standards score: 95)Math Fluency: Henry was asked to complete simple addition, subtraction and multiplication facts within a 3-minute timeframe. He scored within the average range (standard score: 90)VI. ConclusionsStrengths: Henryâ??s strengths are in math calculation and fluency where he scored in the average range. He also excelled in completing the â??Writing Samplesâ? and â??Letter-Word Identificationâ? subtest that requires visual and auditory information input. Areas of Need: Based on the assessments administered, it is evident that Henry struggles in the areas of reading and vocabulary comprehension. In the subtests that required â??Passage Comprehension (standards score: 78), â??Reading Vocabularyâ? (standard score: 76) and â??Writing Fluencyâ? (standard score: 76), Henry scored in the low range. These scores indicate an area of need in demonstrating vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Although considered low-average, Henry struggled with phonetics of non-sight words in the â??Word Attackâ? subtest (standard score: 87).VII. Summary & RecommendationsStudent Summary: At this time there have been no records transferred from Henryâ??s previous school for teachers and other school personnel to review. Because there is no background information, the team is only able to use the current class performance and his educational assessment regarding his ability levels and eligibility for services provided under IDEA. It is evident from the teacher and parent reports along with classroom observation that Henryâ??s area of weakness is in reading and vocabulary comprehension.The assessment results indicate that Henry is not making effective progress in the areas of reading and vocabulary comprehension at his grade level. If allowed to continue with proper support and intervention strategies, he will continue to fall behind his same-aged peers as he progresses through each grade level.Content Expectations:Within your paper you are to identify characteristics of a mild to moderate disability and how each may impact Henryâ??s academic progress. Use the following guidelines for creating your presentation:Identify and define characteristics of a mild to moderate disability as outlined by Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.Explain how Henryâ??s specific disability was chosen with justification from the case study, the weekâ??s reading assignments and independent research.Describe at least three potential causes (environmental, instructional, behavioral and/or psychological) for the disability.From the above, establish the overall potential impact on Henryâ??s academic success.Written Expectations:Syntax and Mechanics: Exhibit meticulous use of grammar, spelling, organization, and usage throughout your submission.Source Requirement: Reference at least two scholarly sources in addition to the course textbook in order to provide compelling evidence to support your ideas.Page Requirement: Your submission must be two to three pages in length excluding a title and reference page.APA format: All in text citations, page format and references must be written in APA 6th edition format.Next Steps: Review and Submit the AssignmentReview your assignment with the Grading Rubric (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to ensure you have achieved the distinguished levels of performance for each criterion. Next, submit your document no later than Day 7.


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Characteristics of Learning
Disabilities in Students
Collect This Article
By W.L. Heward â?? Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Dec 8, 2010
To describe the various categories of exceptionality, observers typically list the physical and
psychological characteristics often exhibited by the individuals who make up that group. For
example, early in the fieldâ??s history a task force commissioned to identify the characteristics of
children with learning disabilities (the term minimal brain dysfunction was used to describe these
children at that time) found that 99 separate characteristics were reported in the literature
(Clements, 1966). The inherent danger in such lists is the tendency to assume, or to look for,
each of those characteristics in all children considered in the category. This danger is especially
troublesome with learning disabilities because the category includes children who exhibit a wide
range of learning, social, and emotional problems. In fact, Mercer and Pullen (2005) suggest that
it is theoretically possible for an individual with learning disabilities to exhibit one of more than
500,000 combinations of cognitive or socioemotional problems.
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Learning disabilities are associated with problems in listening, reasoning, memory, attention,
selecting and focusing on relevant stimuli, and the perception and processing of visual and/or
auditory information. These perceptual and cognitive processing difficulties are assumed to be
the underlying reason why students with learning disabilities experience one or more of the
following characteristics: reading problems, deficits in written language, underachievement in
math, poor social skills, attention deficits and hyperactivity, and behavioral problems.
Reading Problems
Difficulty with reading is by far the most common characteristic of students with learning
disabilities. It is estimated that 90% of all children identified as learning disabled are referred for
special education services because of reading problems (Kavale & Forness, 2000). Some
professionals now believe the term learning disabilities, which encompasses so many different
types of learning problems, hinders our understanding of the causes, developmental courses, and
outcomes of the reading problems experienced by many children (Fletcher et al., 2002). They
recommend developing specific definitions and research bases for each type of learning
disability (e.g., reading disabilities, math disabilities).
Evidence suggests that specific reading disability, also called dyslexia, is a persistent deficit, not
simply a developmental lag in linguistic or basic reading skills (Lyon, 1995). The International
Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as
a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties
with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These
difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often
unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom
instruction. (Lyon, Shaywitz, & Shaywitz, 2003, p. 2)
Children who fail to learn to read by the first grade tend to fall farther and farther behind their
peers, not only in reading but in general academic achievement as well. For example,
longitudinal studies have found that 74% of children who are diagnosed as learning disabled
because of reading problems remain disabled in the ninth grade (Fletcher et al., 1994; Stanovich
& Siegel, 1994).
Recent research has revealed a great deal about the fundamental nature of childrenâ??s reading
disabilities and the type of instruction most likely to prevent and remediate reading problems
(Jenkins & Oâ??Conner, 2002; Kameâ??enui, Good, & Harn, 2005; National Reading Panel, 2000;
Smith, Baker, & Oudeans, 2001). In summarizing this research, Torgesen and Wagner (1998)
state that (1) the â??most severe reading problems of children with learning disabilities lie at the
word, rather than the text, level of processing� (i.e., inability to accurately and fluently decode
single words), and (2) the most common cognitive limitation of these children involves a
dysfunction in the awareness of the phonological structure of words in oral language.
Recent research suggests that children with severe reading disabilities, particularly those who are
resistant to interventions effective for the majority of struggling readers, may share a second
processing problem in addition to deficits in phonological awareness. Many children and adults
with dyslexia show a significant deficit in visual naming speed (the ability to rapidly name
visually presented stimuli) compared to a typical reader (Lovett, Steinbach, & Frijters, 2000;
Wolf, Bowers, & Biddle, 2000). When asked to state the names of visually presented material
such as letters, many individuals with reading disabilities have difficulty rapidly retrieving and
stating the names of the letters, even though they know the letter names. The term double deficit
hypothesis is used to describe children who exhibit underlying deficits in phonological
awareness and rapid naming speed (Wolf & Bowers, 2000).
Of course, comprehension is the goal of reading. And comprehension lies at the phrase, sentence,
paragraph, and story level, not in identifying single words. But the inability to rapidly identify
words impairs comprehension in at least two ways. First, faster readers encounter more words
and idea units, thereby having the opportunity to comprehend more. Second, assuming that both
word recognition and comprehension consume finite cognitive processing resources, a struggling
reader who devotes more processing resources to identify words has â??fewer cognitive processing
resources . . . available for comprehension. The less efficient word reading of students with
reading disabilities overloads working memory and undermines reading comprehension�
(Jenkins & Oâ??Conner, 2001, pp. 1â??2).
Written Language Deficits
Many students with learning disabilities have problems with writing and spelling. When
compared to their peers without disabilities, students with learning disabilities perform
significantly lower across most written expression tasks, especially vocabulary, grammar,
punctuation, and spelling (Newcomer & Barenbaum, 1991). Some students have a specific
disability with written language.
Compounding the weak language base that many students with learning disabilities bring to the
writing task is an approach to the writing process that involves minimal planning, effort, and
metacognitive control (Englert et al., 1991; Graham & Harris, 1993). Many of these students use
a â??retrieve-and-writeâ? approach in which they retrieve from immediate memory â??whatever
seems appropriate and write it down� (De La Paz & Graham, 1997, p. 295). They seldom use the
self-regulation and self-assessment strategies of competent writers: setting a goal or plan to guide
their writing, organizing their ideas, drafting, self-assessing, and rewriting. As a result, they
produce poorly organized compositions containing a few poorly developed ideas (Sexton, Harris,
& Graham, 1998).
Fortunately, the writing and spelling skills of most students with learning disabilities can be
improved through strategy instruction, frequent opportunities to practice writing, and systematic
feedback (Alber & Walshe, 2004; Goddard & Heron, 1998; Graham & Harris, 2003; Marchisan
& Alber, 2001; Scott & Vitale, 2003; Williams, 2002).
Math Underachievement
Numerical reasoning and calculation pose major problems for many students with learning
disabilities. Students with learning disabilities perform lower than normally achieving children
with every type of arithmetic problem at every grade level (Cawley, Parmar, Foley, Salmon, &
Roy, 2001). Deficits in retrieving number facts and solving story problems are particularly
evident (Jordan & Hanich, 2000; Ostad, 1998). The math competence of students with learning
disabilities progresses about 1 year for every 2 years in school, and the skills of many children
plateau by age 10 or 12 (Cawley, Parmar, Yan, & Miller, 1998).
Given these difficulties, it is not surprising that more than 50% of students with learning
disabilities have IEP goals in math (Kavale & Reese, 1992). As with reading and writing,
explicit, systematic instruction that provides guided, meaningful practice with feedback usually
improves the math performance of students with learning disabilities (e.g., Fuchs & Fuchs, 2003;
Gagnon & Maccini, 2001; Owen & Fuchs, 2002; Marsh & Cooke, 1996; Witzel, Mercer, &
Miller, 2003).
Social Skills Deficits
After reviewing 152 different studies, Kavale and Forness (1996) concluded that about 75% of
students with learning disabilities exhibit deficits in social skills. Poor social skills often lead to
rejection, low social status, fewer positive interactions with teachers, difficulty making friends,
and lonelinessâ??all of which are experienced by many students with learning disabilities
regardless of classroom placement (Haager & Vaughn, 1995; Ochoa & Palmer, 1995; Pavri &
Monda-Amaya, 2000). The poor social skills of students with learning disabilities may be due to
inability to perceive emotions of others, specifically nonverbal affective expressions (Most &
Greenbank, 2000).
Some students with learning disabilities, however, experience no problems getting along with
their peers and teachers. For example, Sabornie and Kauffman (1986) reported no significant
difference in the sociometric standing of 46 learning disabled high school students and 46 peers
without disabilities. Moreover, they discovered that some of the students with learning
disabilities enjoyed socially rewarding experiences in inclusive classrooms.
One interpretation of these contradictory findings is that social competence and peer acceptance
are not characteristics of learning disabilities but outcomes of the different social climates
created by teachers, peers, parents, and others with whom students with learning disabilities
interact (Vaughn, McIntosh, Schumm, Haager, & Callwood, 1993). Researchers have begun to
identify the types of problems experienced by children with learning disabilities who are ranked
low in social acceptance and to discover instructional arrangements that promote the social status
of students with learning disabilities in the regular classroom (Bryan, 1997; Court & Givon,
2003; Vaughn, Elbaum, & Schumm, 1996).
Attention Problems and Hyperactivity
Some students with learning disabilities have difficulty attending to a task and/or display high
rates of purposeless movement (hyperactivity). Children who consistently exhibit this
combination of behavioral traits may be diagnosed as having attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD).
Behavioral Problems
Some students with learning disabilities display behavioral problems in the classroom. Research
has consistently found a higher-than-normal rate of behavioral problems among students with
learning disabilities (Cullinan, 2002). In a study of 790 students enrolled in Kâ??12 learning
disabilities programs in Indiana, the percentage of students with behavioral problems (15%)
remained consistent across grade levels (McLeskey, 1992). Although these data definitely show
increased behavioral problems among children with learning disabilities, the relationships
between the studentsâ?? behavior problems and academic difficulties are not known. In other
words, we do not know whether the academic deficits or the behavioral problems cause the other
difficulty. And it is important to note that many children with learning disabilities exhibit no
behavioral problems at all.
Regardless of the interrelationships of these characteristics, teachers and other caregivers
responsible for planning educational programs for students with learning disabilities need skills
in dealing with social and behavioral difficulties as well as academic deficits.
The Defining Characteristic
Although students who receive special education under the learning disabilities category are an
extremely heterogeneous group, it is important to remember that the fundamental, defining
characteristic of students with learning disabilities is specific and significant achievement
deficits in the presence of adequate overall intelligence.
The difference between what students with learning disabilities â??are expected to do and what
they can do . . . grows larger and larger� over time (Deshler, Schumaker, & Lenz, 2001, p. 97).
The performance gap becomes especially noticeable and handicapping in the middle and
secondary grades, when the academic growth of many students with disabilities plateaus. By the
time they reach high school, students with learning disabilities are the lowest of the low
achievers, performing below the 10th percentile in reading, written language, and math (Hock,
Schumaker, & Deshler, 1999).
The difficulties experienced by children with learning disabilitiesâ??especially for those who
cannot read at grade levelâ??are substantial and pervasive and usually last across the life span
(Price, Field, & Patton, 2003). The tendency to think of learning disabilities as a â??mildâ?
disability erroneously supports â??the notion that a learning disability is little more than a minor
inconvenience rather than the serious, life-long condition it often is [and] detracts from the real
needs of these students� (Hallahan, 1998, p. 4).
Excerpt from Exceptional Children An Introduction to Special Education, by W.L.Heward, 2006
edition, p. 184-185, 188-191.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including
but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the
Common Characteristics of
Students with Mild Disabilities
Collect This Article
By M. Henley|R.S. Ramsey|R.F. Algozzine â?? Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010
The following characteristics will vary from one student to another but are generally the same
across the categories of mild intellectual disability, emotional disturbances, and learning
disabilities. They are clustered under psychological, educational, and social characteristics.
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Psychological Characteristics
Mild disability undetected until beginning school years
Cause of mild disability is difficult to detect
Physical appearance the same as students in full-time regular education
Poor self-concept
Educational Characteristics
Lack of interest in school work
Prefer concrete rather than abstract lessons
Weak listening skills
Low achievement
Limited verbal and/or writing skills
Right hemisphere preference in learning activities
Respond better to active rather than passive learning tasks
Have areas of talent or ability that are overlooked by teachers
Prefer to receive special help in regular classroom
Higher dropout rate than regular education students
Achieve in accordance with teacher expectations
Require modifications in classroom instruction
Social Characteristics
Experience friction when interacting with others
Function better outside of school than in school
Need adult approval
Have difficulties finding and maintaining employment after school
Stereotyped by others
Behavior problems exhibited
Excerpt from Characteristics of and Strategies for Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities, by
M. Henley, R.S. Ramsey, R.F. Algozzine, 2009 edition, p. 50.
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including
but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the
Instructor Guidance
Week Two
After a few months teaching with Mr. Franklin, you have gotten to know your students
well. You appreciate each one for their unique strengths and abilities that contribute to
the classroom learning environment. You and Mr. Franklin have noticed that while
reading silently, Henry, one of the students, struggles with answering grade-level
comprehension questions. During group activities, he sits quietly while his peers actively
Step 1: Identify- You decided to talk with the other teachers about Henryâ??s success in
their classes, and his parents about homework completion and his willingness to read at
home. You implement strategies that seem to help Henry in his other classes and keep
a record of his test scores and classroom observation notes. In addition, you provide his
parents with ideas for reading practice at home. You also ask them to keep a journal of
his progress. This team of experts including his other teachers, parents, Henry, you and
Mr. Franklin make up an important group of multidisciplinary representatives who want
to find ways to support his learning and progress. This team decides to meet again in
four weeks to review his progress with new strategies in his class and at home. During
the second team meeting, it is determined through the review of the available data that
Henry hasnâ??t made any additional progress.
Step 2: Evaluation- As a team and with the parentsâ?? written permission, it is
recommended that Henry be provided a series of assessments due to his inability to
make sufficient progress. An assessment of this kind is the process of gathering
information about a child to make decisions about a potential disability, strengths,
weaknesses, and areas of need.
Henry is given a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation to assess his areas of
academic strength and potential needs. These formal assessment s are conducted by
trained school psychologists and special education teachers. The IDEA specified certain
rules related to the process of assessment including that the procedures must
Be provided in the childâ??s primary language;
Be administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel who can also explain the
Have validity, measuring what itâ??s supposed to measure, and reliability, accurately
measuring what itâ??s supposed to measure;
Include a variety of tools and strategies; and
Not be discriminatory.
Figure 1: Image modified from Stepbystep_icon_web.png, 2013
Because Henryâ??s records have not yet been received from his previous school district,
there are no records to review other than what his current teachers have accumulated.
The process of working collaboratively to obtain the most accurate information on
Henryâ??s strengths and areas of need are essential to the outcome of his evaluation as
well as his potential eligibility for special education and related services.
Step 3: Eligibility Determination- At the conclusion of the formal evaluation, you
create a report on the educational achievement findings that include standard scores
and a narrative explaining the assessment results. The other assessment findings are
obtained through the formal evaluations conducted by the school psychologist and help
to determine the specific needs of the child. During this process, the special education
teacher has an important contribution to this overall findings.
The standard score, between one and 100, ranks a studentâ??s performance as compared
to other students who have taken the same assessment. It is a useful statistic because
it allows professionals to calculate the probability of a score occurring within a normal
distribution. Additionally, these scores provide an objective view of the studentâ??s abilities
and a consistent manner of comparing skills. If other assessments were required by the
IEP team, th …
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