Project Forum, a group that works to inform policy makers and administrators about special education issues, has announced the release of a document about US states’ policies on eligibility for special education of students with Learning Disabilities. The Project Forum paper, which was prepared by Eileen M. Ahearn of Project Forum under a Federal Cooperative Agreement, documents status and change in how states determine eligibility.
State Eligibility Requirements for Specific Learning Disabilities:
This brief policy analysis begins with a background of the changes in federal requirements on specific learning disabilities (SLD) from 1975 to today. Findings from a survey to which 49 state directors of special education responded are described. Ten responding states are in various stages of revising their state regulations to respond to the federal changes with the other 39 having completed their regulation change process. All but three states’ regulations or possible regulations fall into one of the following options:
- Regulations require the use of response to scientific, research-based intervention and do not allow use of severe discrepancy in establishing eligibility for SLD. (8)
- Regulations allow the use of either response to scientific, research-based intervention or severe discrepancy in establishing eligibility for SLD. (28)
- Regulations allow response to scientific, research-based intervention, severe discrepancy or any other research-based alternative to be used in establishing eligibility for SLD. (10)
- Three states did not describe their possible regulations.
The document provides observations and conclusions as well as helpful references, an extract from IDEA regulations issued August 2006 and a copy of the survey used to collect data for the document.