Concerns with identification

The current assessment system is indicative of a “fail first” ideology that believes that unless there is a visible problem of a child adjusting to the “traditional” classroom environment, there is no reason to look for any differences. Although many learning disabilities are based on physical deficiences, exceptionalities such as giftedness and ADHD are both cognitive disorders, and in the case of ADHD many children have executive function deficits. You are correct in stating that it is hard to access “when there are no behaviors indicators”. In the event of these disorders there are behaviorial indicators, and behavioral problems are usually indicative of a problem that has not been previously addressed. Unfortunately educators who are the ones who spend a great deal of time with the learner are the ones who are expected to “refer” learners for additional services, are not properly trained to recognize those indicators.


  1. Active Parent says:

    You are so right about the “fail approach” of many school systems. One of the more popular ones that I have encountered in my research is call Response to Intervention (RTI). After the students show a pattern of failing grades or have a number of school infractions, they are referred to such committees. It just seems to be the norm in most societal entities. Not many approaches are proactive these days. Even the entities that deal with “at-risk” populations tend to for the most part be reactive instead of proactive. Even Government pay lots of money to response teams who only become active when there is some type of catastrophe.

    Most learning disabilities are related to cognitive deficiencies, gifted on the other hand is on the other end of the spectrum and is related to very high cognitive abilities. Most children who are gifted have superior IQs. They are selected for evaluation usually because of their strengths in academics.

    ADHD falls into a different category based on its origin. It is related to a dysfunction of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore it is considered to be more of a neurological dysfunction, rather than a cognitive dysfunction. ADHD is a mental health disorder, and falls under the exceptionality of “Other Health Impaired” OHI under the special ed code. There are several other disorders that fall under this exceptionality. The Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT(IDEA) has a wealth of knowledge related to this. May be a helpful resource for you.

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