February 1st, 2017

The State of LD: Introduction


We are delighted to share with you The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. Building on NCLD’s 40-year history as the leading authority on learning disabilities, this report uses recently released data for the 2015–2016 school year and other field-leading research to shine a light on the current challenges and opportunities facing the 1 in 5 children who have learning and attention issues such as dyslexia and ADHD.

As with previous editions of The State of Learning Disabilities, this report provides key insight into the progress that has been made—and the work yet to be done—to raise expectations and improve outcomes for the 1 in 5. The report also highlights the need for targeted policy reforms and additional research into evidence-based solutions that will help create a more inclusive society that recognizes the potential of all individuals.

This report reveals that children with learning and attention issues are as smart as their peers and can achieve at high levels but too often are misunderstood as lazy or unintelligent. Without the right academic or emotional support, they are much more likely than their peers to repeat a grade, get suspended and drop out. Individuals with learning and attention issues also struggle in the workplace and have high rates of involvement with the criminal justice system. But this downward spiral can be prevented.

We thank NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board and the dozens of other national experts for their contributions to this report, and we hope that after reading The State of Learning Disabilities, you will share our sense of urgency and optimism. Identifying struggling students early can make a huge difference, but we also believe it is never too late to help the 1 in 5 thrive in school, in the workplace and in life.


Mimi Corcoran
Mimi Corcoran Signature
Mimi Corcoran, M.P.A.
President & CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities
David J. Chard
David J. Chard Signature
David J. Chard, Ph.D.
Chair of NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board and President of Wheelock College
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“1 in 5” Snapshot
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