National experts discuss the rising issue of students with learning differences

Fewer students with learning differences are being diagnosed because testing is less available, says Glines

Published Feb. 25, 2010

Even though experts believe more students are affected with learning differences, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for students to get testing for an official diagnosis. According to the 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, nearly 2.9 million students are currently receiving special education services for learning disabilities.

More shocking, “44% of parents who noticed their child exhibiting signs of difficulty with learning waited a year or more before acknowledging their child might have a serious problem,” states GreatSchools.org.

“And one out of four students will have language or reading issues,” says Marsha Glines, dean of Lynn’s Institute for Achievement and Learning, an internationally renowned leader in providing programs to help motivated students with learning differences to succeed at the college level. “Yet, fewer students are being clinically diagnosed with learning differences.”

The new Response to Intervention (RTI) law requires teachers to adapt to different student’s learning styles and delay a student’s referral to be tested for learning differences. “This puts more pressure on teachers,” said Glines. “It makes them accountable for identifying learning problems, accommodating those learning issues and utilizing specialized reading, language arts and math programs prior to making a formal referral for psycho educational testing to determine learning disabilities.”

Transitions

Funding is also an issue for the rising number of students with learning disabilities. “Because less students are referred for testing,” said Glines, “the government is spending less money.”

On Friday, April 9, Matthew Cohen, a nationally recognized attorney whose expertise is in special education law, will discuss how college-bound students with learning differences can successfully obtain testing accommodations at Lynn’s inaugural conference Transitions 2010: High School to Higher Education - College Options for Students with Learning Differences.”

Additional national experts to appear at the conference include Marybeth Kravets and Imy F. Wax, authors of The Princeton Review’s K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder. The two will set the morning’s tone with the first session, “A Fit Like A Glove: Finding the Right College Is Easier Than You Think.”

Attendees will learn how to:

  • obtain testing accommodations
  • dispel myths and misconceptions about “the right college fit”
  • evaluate differing services and self-advocacy issues
  • avoid college choice obstacles
  • ask the right questions on the campus visit
  • answer the sticky parental question: when to get into—or out of—the driver’s seat?

The daylong on-campus conference to be held in the Amarnick-Goldstein Concert Hall in the de Hoernle International Center begins at 7:45 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. Parents, guidance counselors, principals and headmasters, special education teachers, educational consultants, psychologists, parents and students are invited to attend. The cost to attend is $40 for individuals, $35/person for groups of 3 or more, and students are free. The cost to attend includes breakfast and lunch.

A full schedule of session topics, speakers and biographies for Transitions 2010 is available online. To register, visit www.lynn.edu/tickets.