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Specific Learning Disability
Representing Clients in New York & Nationwide
Millions of children nationwide have some kind of specific learning disability that affects their ability to succeed academically. One way of looking at learning disabilities is to look at two different forms of criteria: by stage of information processing and by the specific function affected. The first criteria identifies which part of the learning process—input, integration, storage, and output—causes difficulty for the individual. The second criteria identifies which academic area is impacted by the individual’s disability—reading, writing, math, nonverbal communication, and/or auditory processing. Many individuals are affected in multiple areas of academic achievement.
Parents of children with specific learning disabilities understand the difficulties these children face throughout their education. While most schools understand their obligations to serve these students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and to help as best they can, problems can arise that cause parents to seek the help of special education lawyers like Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP.
Serving Parents of Children with a Specific Learning Disability
At Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP, we serve as a legal support system for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities, including specific learning disabilities. We understand the complexities of the law as it affects schools and disabled learners and will assist you in advocating with teachers and administrators. Though educators should be trained in recognizing when a student is coping with a learning disability, some learning-disabled students—especially those who are very intelligent—may fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, this can mean that a child is labeled “dumb” or placed inappropriately in remedial or special education classes. On the other hand, all too often the student is labeled “lazy”, rather than recognizing the impact of the learning disability.
The special education attorneys of Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP will help you be an effective advocate for your child, working with teachers and administrators to craft an appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your student. We understand that your child needs an IEP that addresses and accommodates your child’s impairment while still challenging him or her to be as academically successful as possible. This can include special assistance where your child needs it, such as for reading or math, in a way that does not make your child feel different or excluded.
Responses to Intervention
Many school districts have adopted a Response to Intervention (RTI) process for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability. RTI is a multi-tier system incorporating high-quality, research-based interventions that, although part of the general education system, also serves as the entry point for special education.
When a school district has carefully planned implementation of RTI – ensuring it is a comprehensive system of differentiated supports that includes evidence-based instruction, universal screening, progress monitoring, formative and summative assessments, research-based interventions matched to individual needs and educational decision-making using academic progress over time – RTI can be a useful tool to properly identify students with specific learning disabilities. When, however, a district doesn’t take the time to plan, doesn’t integrate the process into regular education, doesn’t properly train staff, doesn’t establish and monitor clear requirements for data collection and analysis, doesn’t apply specific timelines, or doesn’t assure the integrity of the RTI process, RTI can hurt students with specific learning disabilities by shutting the door to special education.
We at Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP can assist families to benefit from RTI, or to challenge an inappropriate process. This area of the law is in constant change, and the attorneys at Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP, because of the special education law focus of our law firm, can provide you with needed assistance.
The No Child Left Behind Act, now in effect nationwide, has led to the increasing use of high-stakes tests to determine students’ academic progress. Students with learning disabilities frequently do not perform to their full potential on these tests because of their specific problems with reading, writing, math, or auditory processing. This means they may be placed on a slower, remedial academic track or otherwise be educated below their capabilities. The learning disability lawyers of Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP will work with your child’s school to ensure they are given the best chance to succeed on high-stakes tests through special assistance, extra time, or other considerations.
To learn more about the services we offer for families of children with specific learning disabilities, please contact Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP for additional information or to schedule a free consultation.