Case Study: Specific Learning Disabilities Criteria
Jennifer is a 2nd grader being referred for possible learning disabilities in reading. Jennifer has always attended Sand Hill Elementary and has not repeated a grade. She is eight years old. She has been screened for vision and hearing problems and was found to have normal vision and hearing. Her teachers have described her as cooperative and likable. She does not exhibit behavioral problems.
Jennifer has a history of difficulty with early reading skill milestones. She had difficulty learning the letters of the alphabet in kindergarten as well as trouble with initial sounds, sight vocabulary and rhyming. Her overall language development was acceptable and she enjoyed being read to. She had some trouble sequencing story elements and following multiple step instructions when given orally. She seemed to learn reading related concepts more slowly than many of the other students and seemed to take a much longer time to understand and master pre-reading skills. She enjoyed art and play time.
Jennifer’s current teacher states that she exhibits a great deal of difficulty in reading. She has mastered 5 of the grade one benchmarks based on the WI Model Academic Standards (alphabet letters, initial consonants, ending consonants, oral retelling, and identifying pictures). Rhyming and sight words are emerging. She has met three of the ten reading benchmarks on the district 2nd grade skill checklist (see attached results) (summarizing stories, making inferences about outcomes, and connecting information in stories with her own experiences). Her skills in two other areas are emerging (reading high frequency words and knowing story elements). She has shown little progress on the other five benchmarks (using word structures to decode; using punctuation, titles, headings, and pictures to increase comprehension; reading fluently; using self-correction strategies, and reading a variety of text) (see attached checklist).
Specifically, she doesn’t consistently sound out words when reading aloud. Instead, she often replaces a word that begins with the same letter; for example, “book” for “brown.” Jennifer does know all consonant sounds in isolation, but isn’t always able to combine sounds and doesn’t understand blends, such as “sl.” While she recalls some basic sight words, she doesn’t remember them automatically until she has received repeated instruction and seen them many times. When given materials at her reading level she reads very haltingly. She has great difficulty trying to blend sounds together. She has adequate comprehension of stories read to her and is assisted by picture clues, although she doesn’t always remember to use such cues when reading by herself. She seems to get so bogged down by trying to figure out the words that she forgets to use other reading strategies. The teacher has taken her aside for some small group and individual skill work, but Jennifer’s progress continues to be very slow. Her instructional reading level as measured by an individual reading inventory is at the primer level.
Jennifer’s first grade teacher reported that she did have some concerns with Jennifer’s progress, but she wanted to “give her a little more time.” Jennifer did receive Title I reading support in first grade, and also receives it this year. She participated in Reading Recovery in first grade. Although she made some progress, she did not complete the program successfully in the time allowed. She enjoys good parental support, and her parents report that they have read to Jennifer consistently since she was a baby. They are also concerned about Jennifer’s progress in reading. They have expressed concerns that Jennifer will get increasingly frustrated and give up if she does not begin making more progress.
Jennifer is doing grade-level work in math, and has advanced to 2-digit subtraction with regrouping....
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