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Special Education

Guidance for Implementing IDEA 2004

IDEA-2004:
Key Points - Specific Learning Disabilities

  1. Definition of Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
    IDEA-2004 maintains the definition of SLD found in IDEA 97, and earlier versions of the law.

  2. 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]
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. Resources

    R & D Alert: When Special Education and General Education Unite, Everyone Benefits Download PDF Document

    Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center: Responsiveness to Intervention Download PDF Document



Last Updated: January 16, 2008
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