Term of Art: Specific Learning Disability

“specific learning disability: A legal term that plays a central role legislation governing learning disabilities. As described in Public Law 94-142 (amended by PL 101-76), ‘specific learning disability’ means a disorder on one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. This may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, spell, or do mathematical calculations.

The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children whose conditions are primarily caused by visual hearing, or motor problems; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; or due to environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

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