• My child is eligible for special education services under the category of Specific Learning Disabilities. What does this mean?

    According to the Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities (2008), a child with a specific learning disability has 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 an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor abilities, of cognitive disability, of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

    Children with specific learning disabilities often score in the same range as nondisabled children on assessments of cognitive ability, but they demonstrate significant difficulty with skills that are required to be successful in school. A specific learning disability may also be suspected when a student has received academic interventions but is still not making progress.

    Because the eligibility team at your child’s school agreed that he/she meets the criteria of the Ohio Operating Standards, your child will have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will address his/her unique needs and allow him/her to access the grade-level curriculum to the greatest extent possible. 

    What specialized instruction will my child receive?

    Goals for children with specific learning disabilities typically address reading, written expression, and/or mathematics – depending on the area of deficit. A student may also receive speech/language services to improve their language skills.

    Specially designed instruction for children with specific learning disabilities may include, but is not limited to:

    o   Direct, explicit instruction in goal areas, focused on foundational skills that are required to help students access the curriculum

    o   Multiple opportunities for practice and feedback

    o   Preteaching of skills and concepts

    o   Teaching of compensatory strategies

    o   Learning with hands-on, real-world materials (“manipulatives”)

    o   Using scaffolds for learning information, such as graphic organizers, adapted academic materials

    o   Peer-assisted learning


    Can a child with Specific Learning Disabilities attend any CMSD school?

    CMSD is committed to providing quality school choices for all families. Every school in CMSD is staffed with Intervention Specialists to support students in all disability categories with access to the general education curriculum along with specially designed instruction in academic areas. All schools also have access to related services (speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy) and postsecondary transition services. Intervention specialists may teach separate academic classes that allow the student to receive grade-level instruction using modified methods in these key areas. There are also specialized single classrooms in every Cleveland neighborhood. The type of setting in which a student receives services is a decision of the IEP team.


    Additional Resources

    Center for Parent Information and Resources – Learning Disabilities