Procedures for Determination of Specific Learning Disabilities
Parents can help children with learning disabilities achieve by encouraging their strengths, knowing
their weaknesses, understanding the educational system, working with professionals and learning
about strategies for dealing with specific difficulties.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 included important changes in the
approaches schools use to determine specific learning disabilities. Based on current research, Wayne
County Schools are using new methods of assessment and instruction to prevent learning deficits.
When analyzing a student’s performance and achievement for patterns of strengths and weaknesses,
the consistencies among cognitive and academic skills are used to identify specific learning
disabilities. The Huron School District, following the Wayne County Committee for Specific
Learning Disabilities Guidance Document (2009), utilizes both Response to Intervention (RtI) AND
Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) models in an effort to look for consistencies and
inconsistencies among cognitive and academic skills.
Response to Intervention
With the Response to Intervention (RtI) method, the student is provided with explicit evidence‐based
interventions. Student progress is carefully measured and the instructional interventions are adjusted
to teach the skills necessary for the student to make sufficient progress toward age or grade level
standards. The team uses the student’s response to the interventions and the pattern of strengths and
weaknesses to determine whether or not the student demonstrates a specific learning disability.
Patterns of Strength and Weakness
The Patterns of Strength and Weakness method requires an extensive analysis of the student’s
patterns of strengths and weaknesses in performance or achievement or both when compared to age,
State approved grade level standards or intellectual development using appropriate assessments.
Out with the Old: The Severe Discrepancy Approach
The former method of comparing IQ to achievement has been called the “Wait to Fail” model
because, by the time students show a “severe discrepancy”, they have experienced so much failure in
school, it is harder to intervene and help them improve.
Each Specific Learning Disability (SLD) evaluation shall include a school psychologist. The
Huron School District requires that a school psychologist serve as a member of the
Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET).
The Wayne County Model for the Identification of Specific Learning Disability
The Huron School District, with the guidance of the Wayne County Committee for Specific Learning
Disabilities, incorporates RtI and PSW Wayne County Models in its determination of specific
The full and individual evaluation is a process of data collection that includes multiple methods of
assessing student performance with input from parents, teachers, instructional specialists, and school
The purpose of the evaluation is to surround the student of concern with the best information possible
to make appropriate recommendations as to the student’s eligibility for special education and, more
importantly, educationally relevant recommendations for instructional strategies, supports and
Specific Learning Disability.
A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes
involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in the
imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. Disorders not included.
The term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of
visual, hearing, or motor impairment, of cognitive impairment, of emotional
impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Limited English Proficiency, or of environmental, cultural,
or economic disadvantage.
When provided appropriate learning experiences, the child does not achieve
adequately for age or State approved standards in one or more of the following areas: Basic Reading;
Reading Fluency; Reading Comprehension; Written Expression; Math Calculation; Math Reasoning;
Oral Expression; Listening Comprehension.
**For additional information please contact Tom Arkwright, Director of Special Education at
734‐379‐6360 or visit the Wayne RESA website at: