Guidance for Implementing IDEA 2004
Key Points - Specific Learning Disabilities
Definition of Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
IDEA-2004 maintains the definition of SLD found in IDEA 97, and earlier versions of the law.
- Evaluation for specific learning disabilities
- IDEA-2004 broadens the criteria for SLD evaluation
- As part of the evaluation process, districts now have the authority to use:
- a discrepancy model or
- a research-based intervention model.
- Please note that the evaluation process to determine eligibility in Massachusetts continues to include all required assessments. [603 CMR 28.04: Referral and Evaluation]
The use of IQ testing for SLD identification and eligibility
IDEA-2004 does not restrict LEAs from administrating IQ tests and using the results of such testing in eligibility decision-making. However, no single test may be used for eligibility determinations. Such determinations should take into consideration all relevant tests and other evaluation materials compiled as part of the evaluation process.
- Research-based intervention
- Components include:
- Empirical, scientific research studies
- Explicit, systematic instruction
- Targeted areas of need
- Intense intervention
- Implementation by trained personnel
- School's instructional support programs should be based upon research-based interventions
- Response to Intervention (RTI) models are examples of instructional support programs.
R & D Alert: When Special Education and General Education Unite, Everyone Benefits
Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center: Responsiveness to Intervention