IDEA (Turnbull 107)

The text states that “IDEA’s definition of a learning disability is a student must have a disorder that manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. Current research is focusing on exploring the extent to which the disconnection between regions due to less than sufficient core white matter is at the base of math disabilities. (Turnbull 107) Students with learning disabilities typically excel in most academic areas and then fall behind in a specific class such as high or above average intelligence in reading and writing and a large deficit in math. This is a typical sign of a learning disability.Specific learning disabilities are reading disabilities which effect phonemic analysis, word identification, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Math disabilities effect procedural problems and fact retrieval. Many students with learning disabilities have trouble with their short term, long term, and working memory.

The text describes communication disorders as “disorders that relate to the components of the process affected: speech, language, or both.” (Turnbull 125)A communication disorder can manifest itself in either a speech disorder which causes an individual to have trouble producing sounds or speak in a typical cadence. A language disorder can be either a deficit in receptive language, expressive language, or both. An individual with a receptive language disorder may have trouble with receiving information and processing that information. For example, giving a simple two step command such as go put your toy away and bring me your shoes may be a hard task for an individual with a receptive language disorder. An expressive language disorder is when an individual has difficulty with organizing information and then sharing that information by using a verbal output. For example, instead of a student giving you a simple answer to a question they may go in a very round about way as to explain something specific that may have happened to them which may in some may connect to the topic at hand and give you an answer to your question in a very puzzling way. In other cases, an individual may know exactly what they want but the process of organizing the information and then expressing it verbally may end up being two to three word utterances instead of a complete thought or sentence. For example, when my son who has both receptive and an expressive language disorder wants an Oreo cookie he does not say, “mom, can I have an Oreo cookie?” He loudly states, “black cookie please.” A communication disorder can be assessed by a Speech and Language Pathologist who can then make suggestions on the path to take. Some students may benefit from speech therapy and others from a combination of speech therapy and a type of communication system such as the PECS system or an AAC device.

My personal experience is that my three-year-old son Preston is a child with autism. Autism has many co-morbid disorders, mainly speech and language. My son has a receptive and expressive language disorder which has been extremely challenging, but is progressing. The first two and a half or so years of his life, or maybe even more, was filled with screams and squeals because he was not able to speak, he never gestured, and he would bang his head out of frustration. It was all a huge guessing game. I did my own research and found out how to make a PECS book and the different stages of using a PECS book. I later switched to another AAC device on the IPad which helped because it encouraged him to “speak” since he is echolaliac. The description in the text of a communication disorder is right on. However, it just seems to touch on the disorder. Echolalia is a whole other ball game!

Turnbull, Ann A., H. Turnbull, Michael Wehmeyer. Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools, 8th Edition. Pearson, 20150204. VitalBook file.

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