Specific Learning Disabilities

Lydia Yeoman
Program Specialist
(904) 547-7697


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines a learning disability as a “disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using the spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations.”

Learning disabilities do not include problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; intellectual disabilities; or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

A learning disability can’t be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong issue. However, children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to successful, often distinguished careers in later life. Parents can help their children achieve such success by encouraging their strengths, knowing their weaknesses, understanding the educational system, working with professional and learning about strategies for dealing with specific disabilities.


A brochure detailing parental and student rights will be given to each parent. These are Procedural Safeguards for Students with Disabilities as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


Prior to referral for student evaluation, the student’s learning problem is addressed at the school level. Procedures include:

Identification of the student’s learning problem and current functioning level in school.

Screening for vision, hearing, speech and language functioning with referral for complete evaluations where the need is indicated.

Review of social, psychological, medical, and achievement data in student’s cumulative records; and

All psychological and academic achievement evaluations will be conducted through St. Johns County ESE Department. Private evaluations will be considered. Reports from psychologists may be submitted to the student’s district school as part of the required documentation for eligibility determination.

The student’s district school is responsible for collecting all required documentation for eligibility determination. No testing is conducted unless the home zone school submits a completed referral.

A meeting of several educational specialists is held to determine whether a student is eligible for a special program.


A student is eligible for special programs for specific learning disabilities if the student meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Documented evidence which indicates that general education interventions have been attempted and found to be ineffective in meeting the student’s educational needs.

  2. Evidence of a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes required for learning. A psychological process is a set of mental operations that transforms, accesses, or manipulates information. .A disorder in a psychological process is a relatively enduring and stable feature of an individual’s cognitive skills that limits the ability to perform specific academic or developmental learning tasks. Processing deficits may manifest themselves differently at different developmental levels,
        1. Documentation of process disorders of process disorders must include one standard instrument in addition to the instrument used to determine the student’s level of intellectual functioning.
        2. In addition, the district may establish criteria for the use of more than one instrument to determine process disorder and other criteria which will assist in determining a process disorder.
  3. Evidence of academic achievement which is significantly below the student’s intellectual functioning.
  4. Evidence that learning problems are not due to other handicapping conditions.


  • Be sure your child knows that a learning disorder is not anyone’s fault.

  • Be positive. Increase your child’s confidence by emphasizing his or her strengths.

  • Work with your child’s teacher. If the teacher is not taking an active approach, discuss the problem with the teacher and develop new ideas.

  • Read aloud to your child.

  • Supply your child with a homework notebook, checked daily by parents (and teacher.)

  • View a list of websites with great reading activities.