Getting Specific About SLD: A Conversation Guide for Using Terms like Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia

Clear and effective communication between parents, educators, and other school professionals is critical to identifying and meeting the needs of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). But sometimes, confusion over specific terms like dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia can lead to unnecessary tension or conflict between members of a student’s IEP team. And there may be confusion about when it’s appropriate to use these terms and how the terms might impact the student’s success.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education reminded schools that they can use terms like dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia to describe the particular issues facing students who have SLD. The terms can be used in the evaluation process, in an IEP, and can help schools better understand the needs of each student.

To help parents, educators, and school professionals have productive conversations and know when and how using these terms might be helpful, NCLD and eleven other national organizations worked together to create a new, practical resource. 5 Questions Parents and Educators Can Ask to Start Conversations About Using Terms Like Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia can be used to start a dialogue between parents and educators and help the IEP team better meet the needs of students.

The twelve organizations who have contributed to this resource include:

  • AIM Institute for Learning and Research
  • Council of Administrators of Special Education
  • Council for Exceptional Children
  • Council for Learning Disabilities
  • Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • Eye to Eye
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America
  • National Association for School Psychologists
  • National Association of State Directors of Special Education
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
  • Understood

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