Dowagiac Union School District Procedures for Determination of a Specific Learning Disability
This notice is designed to comply with the current 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. 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. A 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.
Commencing with the 2010/2011 school year, the Dowagiac Union Schools will use a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses model to determine whether a student exhibits 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 determination of a SLD will be based upon multiple sources of information including parent input, classroom 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.
That recommendation shall be based on whether the students 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 indicative of a SLD. 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.