School-age students with learning disabilities continue to face barriers due to the lack of proper funding, intensive intervention, accommodations, and resources to support their academic success. Today, students with learning disabilities are burdened by the stigma that they are less capable of academic success than their nondisabled peers.
Students with learning disabilities can achieve commensurate with their peers, yet students do not receive the evidence-based services and supports needed to fulfill their potential.
A Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a brain-based disorder that affects an individual’s ability to read, write, and do math (e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia).
Students identified with SLD receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law that provides free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities. Of the 13% of the U.S. school-age population who received disability services under IDEA in the 2020–2021 academic year, 34% received services for SLD as the primary disability.
Cortelia C, Horowitz SH. The State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends and Emerging Issues, 3rd ed. New York, NY: National Center for Learning Disabilities; 2014
National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2021). The Nation’s Report Card, Reading and Math Proficiency for Students with Learning Disabilities [Unpublished raw data]. U.S. Department of Education.
National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2021). The Nation’s Report Card, Reading and Math Proficiency for Students with Learning Disabilities by Race and Ethnicity [Unpublished raw data]. U.S. Department of Education.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs- Research to Practice Division. (2021). IDEA Section 618 Data Products. [Data set].
In 2020–2021, more than 2 million public school students received services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for a learning disability in reading, writing, and/or math. Many more students remain unidentified and underserved, perpetuating opportunity gaps. Students with learning disabilities are in every school across the nation. Congress authorized IDEA nearly 50 years ago, promising to fund 40% of the cost to educate students with disabilities.
This promise still needs to be fulfilled.
Join us in making school environments more accessible and equitable for students with learning disabilities.