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English Language Learners & LD

The following are past questions and answers from Dr. Larry Silver on this topic.

Is dysgraphia an official learning disability or a functional diagnosis?

I'm an occupational therapist and was recently reading up on dyslexia on the LD OnLine site and had some additional questions about it. Is dysgraphia an official learning disability or a functional diagnosis? Are occupational therapists allowed to diagnose dysgraphia? Who else can diagnose dysgraphia? What are the precise diagnostic criteria, if any, of dysgraphia?

The official diagnostic manual (DSM-IV-TR) lists only one Motor Skills Disorder — "Developmental Coordination Disorder." The task force planning DSM-V is aware that there will be a need to identify dysgraphia. Psycho-educational testing will identify a child with a written language disability based on fine motor coordination. Certainly OTs can do this.

I do not know if there are uniformly established criteria. If a student has difficulty with spelling or with language arts (grammar, punctuation, capitalization), he or she is seen as having a learning disability. If the difficulty relates to fine motor coordination and the ability to form letters and words properly or quickly, he or she is seen as having a grapho-motor problem or dysgraphia.

How do you assess and qualify a student with limited English proficiency for LD special education services?

How do you assess and qualify a student with limited English proficiency for LD special education services?

Under the federal law, IDEA, such a student must be evaluated with test instruments that are in his/her primary language.