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Deciphering the Language Differences of Special Education Services

Patricia Latham, a member of the board of directors and past president of Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), helps clarify the confusion in language surrounding special education services.

The IDEA statute adopts principles of disability identification that lists special needs covered under the law. Unfortunately, this form of identification is seen as a deterrent to parents whose children’s conditions do not match the listings. By contrast, other statutes involving special needs do not label as precisely and rely on a broader terminology of “impairment” linked to testing. Although semantically close, the difference in language causes a significant amount of confusion and argument.

Patricia recommends sites such as and the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) as resource centers to help parents decipher the complexities surrounding special education services. Above all else, it’s the right information that effectively leads to the right choices for children with special needs.

Readings of Interest

Report: Washington’s dropout rate is high for students with learning disabilities

Report: State’s students with disabilities suspended more, graduate less

Report: Students with Learning and Attention Issues Three Times More Likely to Drop Out

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