• Home
IDENTIFICATION OF SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES - Regulations

1. Add procedures for identifying children with specific learning disabilities.

A State must adopt, consistent with 34 CFR 300.309, criteria for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined in 34 CFR 300.8(c)(10). In addition, the criteria adopted by the State:
  • Must not require the use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, as defined in 34 CFR 300.8(c)(10);
  • Must permit the use of a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention; and

  • May permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, as defined in 34 CFR 300.8(c)(10).
A public agency must use the State criteria adopted pursuant to 34 CFR 300.307(a) in determining whether a child has a specific learning disability.
[34 CFR 300.307] [20 U.S.C. 1221e-3; 1401(30); 1414(b)(6)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Why do you think Congress changed IDEA 2004 to allow LEAs to use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation procedures when determining whether a child has a specific learning disability? How might all students benefit with the implementation of a response to intervention model?


  2. What criteria are currently in place for determining SLD in your state?
    • Do they include a response to scientific, research-based interventions process?
    • Does your state permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures for determining SLD?
    • If so, what are they and what do you think the pros and cons are for their use?


  3. What do you see as the benefits or drawbacks of not requiring use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining if a child has a specific learning disabilit


  4. What are examples of measures of intellectual ability? Is it still important to assess intellectual ability if you are going to use a response to intervention model for identification for SLD?


  5. What are “scientific, research-based interventions”? What resources might be available to locate scientific, research-based interventions for use in schools?


  6. As a district implements a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention or other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, what do you perceive as the implications for instructional practices in the general education setting and curriculum?


  7. What do you believe are the essential components in an effective response to intervention process in order for such process to be used as part of SLD identification?


  8. Why do you think it is important for schools to utilize fidelity measures (checks to determine if the intervention was implemented as designed)?


  9. In your opinion, how important is it for there to be consistency in identification procedures across districts within a state? What might happen if there is inconsistency from district to district?


  10. What is the relationship between the state standards’ assessments and the identification of SLD?


Application Questions

  1. What might be the process and/or procedure for selecting, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, including:
    • Who conducts the intervention?
    • Where does the intervention occur?
    • How long does the intervention last?
    • Was the intervention implemented in the way it was designed to be delivered? (Fidelity of treatment)


  2. Fidelity of implementation is often referenced when discussing the use of scientifically-based academic interventions. How can you and your colleagues develop an understanding of fidelity of implementation”?


  3. What might be the role of SEAs in promoting consistent identification procedures?


  4. When an LEA has chosen to use a response to intervention (RTI) model, when and how could data from an individual cognitive assessment contribute to the decision-making process?


  5. What criteria are or will be used to select specific scientific research-based interventions in your district?
    • How will you determine which interventions will “work” in your district?
    • Who in the district will assess and select research based practices to be used?
    • How will you connect student data with choosing appropriate interventions?


  6. What role will student progress monitoring play in both the initial evaluation and the reevaluation?


  7. What types of assessments are being used and who is administering and interpreting the data that indicates when a student will move through different tiers in a multi-tiered model?


  8. What types of assessments are being used and who is administering and interpreting the data that indicates a student will move to referral for special education eligibility as a result of an RTI model?


  9. How will key stakeholders (parents, teachers, related services personnel, administrators) be informed so that they can contribute to the identification and eligibility process?


  10. How will your SEA work with institutions of higher education so teacher candidates can be prepared to participate in the identification and eligibility process?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Policymaker
    Location: Arizona

    Role: Special Education Administrator
    Location: California

    Role: Educational Consultant
    Location: Florida

    Role: General Education Administrator
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Family Member
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Service Provider
    Location: Kentucky

    Role: Related Service Provider
    Location: Maryland *

    Role: Family Member
    Location: North Carolina

    Role: TA Provider
    Location: California