Learning Disabilities:

Practical Information for the Classroom Teacher


Instructor Name:          Dr. Karen Lea

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:               8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday


Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F

                                    Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:


Learning Disabilities: Practical Information for the Classroom Teacher, is an interactive computer-based instruction course, that provides an introduction to the field of Learning Disabilities for special education teachers, general classroom teachers, integration teachers and related professionals, especially those working in the areas of language, psychology and counseling.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.

Course Materials (Online)
Title:                Learning Disabilities: Practical Information for the Classroom Teacher

Instructor:        Dr. Karen Lea

Publisher:         Virtual Education Software, inc. 2001, Revised 2002, Revised 2010, Revised 2013, Revised 2016, Revised 2019


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.

Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

·         Identify warning signs of learning disabilities

·         Implement modifications and accommodations for individuals with learning disabilities

·         Collaborate in assessment to determine existence of a learning disability

·         Collaborate with parents, guardians, and the community to provide effective teaching


Course Description

This course will provide you with a foundational knowledge of learning disabilities and practical ways you can help students with disabilities in your classroom.


Chapter 1: Definition & Characteristics

This section focuses on the foundational knowledge of learning disabilities. At the end of this section, students will be able to:


Chapter 2: Assessment

Assessment is an integral part of the identification and education of children with learning disabilities. As such its main purpose is to improve learning. This section of the course will look at both the discrepancy model and the RTI model used for assessing and identifying learning disabilities. At the end of this section, students will be able to:

·         Articulate a foundational knowledge of assessing for learning disabilities

·         Assess strategies in classroom scenarios


Chapter 3: Adaptions & Modifications

This section focuses on accommodations and modifications educators can make in the classroom. We will look at general teaching techniques that will actually raise the quality of teaching in the classroom and are beneficial when used for the whole class. Then we will look at accommodations and modifications for specific learning disabilities. Your objectives for this section are to: 1. Analyze classroom situations to decide the best accommodation and/or modification to be used, and 2. Analyze your own teaching to raise the quality of teaching by integrating general teaching techniques.


Chapter 4: Parent & Specialist Collaboration

Collaborating, or working well as a team, is vital to meeting the needs of all students, but especially students with learning disabilities. In this last section of the course we will look at general educators collaborating with specialists and parents. Included will be a discussion on IEP meetings, and handling conflict. Your objectives for this course are to: 1. Understand the principles of collaborating with others, and 2. Understand the importance of handling conflict.


Student Expectations 

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, and successfully complete ALL writing assignments to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.



At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam section before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

All assignments are reviewed and may impact your final grade.  Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (see course syllabus for policy), will affect your grade. Fifty percent of your grade is determined by your writing assignments, and your overall exam score determines the other fifty percent.  Refer to the Essay Grading Guidelines which were sent as an attachment with your original course link. You should also refer to the Course Syllabus Addendum which was sent as an attachment with your original course link, to determine if you have any writing assignments in addition to the Critical Thinking Questions (CTQ) and Journal Article Summations (JAS).  If you do, the Essay Grading Guidelines will also apply.


Your writing assignments must meet the minimum word count and are not to include the question or your final citations as part of your word count.  In other words, the question and citations are not to be used as a means to meet the minimum word count.


Critical Thinking Questions

There are four CTQs that you are required to complete. You will need to write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay. You  should explain how the information that you gained from the course will be applied and clearly convey a strong understanding of the course content as it relates to each CTQ.   To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the CTQ that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  Prior to course submission, you may go back at any point to edit your essay, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits.


You must click SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

Journal Article Summations

You are required to write, in your own words, a summary on a total of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles (one article per JAS), written by an author with a Ph.D., Ed.D. or similar, on the topic outlined within each JAS section in the “Required Essays” portion of the course  (blogs, abstracts, news articles or similar are not acceptable). Your article choice must relate specifically to the discussion  topic listed in each individual JAS. You will choose a total of three relevant articles (one article per JAS) and write a thorough summary of the information presented in each article (you must write a minimum of  200 words with a 400 word maximum per JAS). Be sure to provide the URL or the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the facilitator to access and review each article. 


To write your summary, click on REQUIRED ESSAYS and choose the JAS that you would like to complete. A writing program will automatically launch where you can write your summary. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  Prior to course submission you may go back at any point to edit your summaries but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.


You must click SAVE before you write another summary or move on to another part of the course.


Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education, has TEFL certification, and is Project Management Professional certified.  Dr. Lea has fifteen years’ experience teaching at the K–12 level and another seventeen years’ experience teaching education and leadership courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.  Currently she is an Assessment Developer at Western Governor's University.  Dr. Lea has been professionally published over fifteen times and has served on more than a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.

Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing or by calling (509) 891-7219 Monday through Friday, 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m. PST.  Phone messages will be returned within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.

Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.


Bibliography (Suggested Readings)

ASCD. (2018). Inclusive classrooms: Looking at special education today. ASCD InService. Retrieved from

Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students. (2019). 2e community of practice. Retrieved from

Autism Asperger’s Sensory Digest. (2015). Retrieved from

Baldwin, L., Omdal, S. N., & Pereles, D. (2015). Beyond stereotypes: Understanding, recognizing, and working with twice-exceptional learners. Teaching Exceptional Children, 47(4), 216–225. doi:10.1177/0040059915569361

Bauminger-Zviely, N. (2019). Social information processing among children with ASD, SLD, and typical development: The mediational role of language capacities. Journal of Special Education.

Belcher, L. M. (2018). Advantages & disadvantages of collaboration in the workplace. Small Business. Retrieved from

Boche, B., & Henning, M. (2014). Multimodal scaffolding in the secondary English classroom curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(7), 579–590.

Bodea Hategan, C. A., Alas, D. A., & Mosneag, F. (2015). Screening program in dyslexia for high school students. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, 15(1), 65–78.

Borkowski, B. J., & Martin, L. J. (2014). Essentials of special education: Diversity in the classroom. Groveland, FL: Green Apple.

Brown, J. B., & Sanford, A. (2011, March). RTI for English language learners: Appropriately using screening and progress monitoring tools to improve instructional outcomes. Portland State University. Retrieved from

Brown, J., Skow, K., & the IRIS Center. (2009). RTI: Progress monitoring. Retrieved from

Cambria, J., & Guthrie, J. T. (2013). Motivating and engaging students in reading. Retrieved from

Capadieci, A., Serafini, A., Dessuki, A., & Cornoldi, C. (2018). Writing abilities and the role of working memory in children with symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. A Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 25(1).

Ciullo, S. F., & Vaughn, T. S. (2015). Teaching social studies to upper elementary students with learning disabilities: Graphic organizers and explicit instruction. Learning Disability Quarterly, 38(1), 15–26.

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2017, November). CCSSO English learners with disabilities guide. Retrieved from

Crepeau-Hobson, F., & Bianco, M. (2011). Identification of gifted students with learning disabilities in a Response-to-Intervention era. Psychology in the Schools, 48(2), 102–109.

DeVisscher, Al, & Noel, Marie-Pascale. (2014). Arithmetic facts storage deficit: The hypersensitivity-to-interference in memory hypothesis. Developmental Science, 17(3), 434–442. doi:10.1111/desc.12135

Decker, S. L., Hale, J. B., & Flanagan, D. P. (2013). Professional practice issues in the assessment of cognitive functioning for educational applications. Psychology in the Schools, 50(3), 300–313.

Draper, E. A., Brown, L.S., & Jellison, J.A. (2019). Peer-interaction strategies: Fostering positive experiences for students with severe disabilities in inclusive music classes. Applications of Research in Music Education.

Dyches,T. T., Carter, N. J., & Prater, M. A. (2012). A teacher’s guide to communicating with parents: Practical strategies for developing successful relationships. Columbus, OH: Pearson.

Farrell, M. (2012). Educating special children (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Fitzell, S. (2015). Paraprofessional tips for success when working with other educators. Retrieved from

Friend, M. D., & Bursuck, W. D. (2012). Including students with special needs: A practical guide for classroom teachers (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Friend, M., Embury, D. C., & Clarks, L. (2015). Co-teaching versus apprentice teaching: An analysis of similarities and differences. Teacher Education and Special Education, 38(2), 79–87. doi:10.1177/0888406414529308

Gilbert, J. K., Compton, D. L., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L.S. (2012). Early screening for risk of reading disabilities: Recommendations for a four-step screening system. Assessment for Effective Instruction, 38(1), 6–14. doi:10.1177/1534508412451491.

Godwin, A. (2015).

Hall, T. E., Cohen, N., Vue, Ge, & Genley, P. (2015). Addressing learning disabilities with UDL and technology: Strategic reader. Learning Disability Quarterly, 38(2), 72–83.

Hallahan, D.P., Kauffman, J.M., & Pullen, P. C. (2012). Exceptional learners: An introduction to special education (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Hartwell-Walker, M. (2018). Home-school collaboration for children with learning disabilities. Retrieved from

Heiman, T., & Shemesh, D. O. (2018). Predictors of cyber-victimization of higher-education students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of Youth Studies, 22(2), 205–222.

Heitin, R. (2019). When parents and schools disagree. Wrightslaw. Retrieved from

Heward, W. L. (2013). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Horn, D. (2019, January 1). The role of empathy in teaching and tutoring students with learning disabilities. Pedagogy, 29(1), 168–176.

Inclusive Schools Network. (2015, September 9). Frequently asked questions for paraprofessionals. Retrieved from

IRIS Center. (2015). The Response to Intervention approach. Retrieved from

IRIS Center for Training Enhancements. (2019). RTI (Part 1): An overview. Retrieved from

Jones, L. (2014). The power of collaboration. Teaching Channel. Retrieved from

Kavanagh, J. F., & Truss, T. J. (1988). Learning disabilities: Proceedings of the National Conference. Parkton, MD: York.

Kemp, G., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2019). Helping children with learning disabilities. HelpGuide. Retrieved from

Kennedy, A., Deuel, A., Nelson, T. H., & Slavit, D. (2011). Requiring collaboration or distributing leadership? Phi Delta Kappan, 92(8), 20–24.

LD Online. (2015). National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from

Lawrence, N., & Cahill, S. (2014). The impact of dynamic assessment: An exploration of the views of children, parents and teachers. British Journal of Special Education, 41(2), 191–211.

Learning Disabilities Association of America. (2019). New to LD. Retrieved from

Lopes-Murphy, S. (2012). Universal Design for Learning: Preparing secondary education teachers in training to increase academic accessibility of high school English learners. Clearing House, 85(6), 226–230.

Luke, S. E. (2014). Parents and teachers in early childhood special education: What do the parents have to say? (Doctoral dissertation). University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Lupuleac, V. (2014). Physical education for the correction of dysgraphia in primary school pupils. Palestrica of the Third Millennium Civilization & Sport, 15(2), 122–126. Retrieved from

Magloff, L. (2018). What are the benefits of teamwork in business?

Mattson, D. (2015). 6 benefits of teamwork in the workplace. Sandler Training.

Mindich, D. & Lieberman, A. (2012). Building a learning community: A tale of two schools. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Retrieved from

Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., Wang, Yangyang, Mandel, Z., DeJarnettt, C., & Maczuga, S. (2019). Are students with disabilities suspended more frequently than otherwise similar students without disabilities? Journal of School Psychology, 27, 1–13. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2018.11.001

National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Children and youth with disabilities. Retrieved from

National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2018). Learning disabilities. Retrieved from

National Joint Council on Learning Disabilities. (2016). LD Definition. Retrieved from

National Joint Council on Learning Disabilities. (2016). Learning disabilities and achieving high quality education standards. Retrieved from

National Research Center on Learning Disabilities.

O’Connor, R. E., Bocian, K. M., Beach, K. D., Sanchez, V., & Flynn, L. J. (2013). Special education in a 4-year Response to Intervention (RtI) environment: Characteristics of students with learning disability and grade of identification. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 28(3), 98–112.

Phillips, V., & Hughes, R. L. (2012). Teacher collaboration: The essential common-core ingredient. Education Week. Retrieved from

Pierangelo, R., & Giuliani, G. A. (2013). Learning disabilities: A practical approach to foundations, assessment, diagnosis, and teaching. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Porton, H. D. (2013). Helping struggling learners succeed in school. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Prayer, M. A., Redman, A. S., Anderson, D., & Gibb, G. S. (2014). Teaching adolescent students with learning disabilities to self-advocate for accommodations. Intervention in School & Clinic, 49(5), 298–305.

Raymond, E. B. (2012). Learners with mild disabilities: A characteristics approach (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Ricci, L. A., Persiana, K. Williams, A. D., & Ribas, Y. (2019). Preservice general educators using co-teaching models in math and science classrooms of an urban teacher residency programme: Learning inclusive practices in teacher training. International Journal of Inclusive Education.

Rodriguez, R. J., Blatz, E. T., & Elbaum, B. (2014). Parents’ views of schools’ involvement efforts. Exceptional Children, 81(1), 79–95. doi:10.1177/0014402914532232

Senge, P., Cambron-McCabe, N., Lucas, T., Smith, B., Dutton, J., & Kleiner, A. (2012). Schools that learn: A Fifth discipline fieldbook for educators, parents, and everyone who cares about education. New York, NY: Crown.

Sideridis, G., & Padeliadu, S. (2013). Creating a brief rating scale for the assessment of learning disabilities using reliability and true score estimates of the scale’s items based on the Rasch Model. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46(2), 115–132. doi:10.1177/0022219411407924

Sileo, N. M., & Prater, M. A. (2012). Working with families of children with special needs: Family and professional partnerships and roles. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Smith, G. W., & Riccomini, P. J. (2013). The effect of a noise reducing test accommodation on elementary students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 28(2), 89–95.

Smith, T. E. C., Gartin, B. L., & Murdick, N. L. (2012). Including adolescents with disabilities in general education classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Smith, T. E. C., Polloway, E. A., Patton, J. R. & Dowdy, C. A. (2012). Teaching students with special needs in inclusive settings (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Supovitz, J., & Morrison, K. (2015). Does collaboration facilitate data use in schools? Journal of Studies in Education, 5(2), 136–156. doi:10.5296/jse.v5i2.7379

Team Building Techniques. (2015). Benefits of teamwork: Learning from the Navy Seals teams. Retrieved from

Tomlinson, C. A., & Allan, S. D. (2000). Leadership for differentiating schools and classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Turnbull, A., Turnbull, H. R, Erwin, E. J., Soodak, L., & Shogren, K. (2013). Families, professionals and exceptionality: Positive outcomes through partnerships and trust (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Turnbull, A, Turnbull, H. R., Wehmeyer, M., & Shogren, K. A. (2013). Exceptional lives: Special education in today’s schools (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

University of Washington. (2019). Academic accommodations for students with learning disabilities. Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Fact sheet. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Identification of specific learning disabilities. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Education. (2018). 39th annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2017. Retrieved from

Van Bergen, E., Jong, P. F., Maassen, B., Krikhaar, E., Plakas, A., & Leij, A. (2013). IQ of four-year-olds who go on to develop dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47(5), 475–484. doi:10.1177/0022219413479673

Vaughn, S., & Bos, S. (2012). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Wagers, S. (2013). Assembled chaos: Increase the return on the effort you invest in collaboration. Retrieved from

Weir, K. Cooney, M., Walter, M., Moss, C., Center, W., & Carter, E. W. (2018). Fostering self-determination among children and youth with disabilities—Ideas from parents for parents. Retrieved from

West Virginia Department of Education. (2017). Regulations for the education of students with disabilities. Retrieved from

Womack, S., Hanna, S. L., Woodall, P., & Callaway, R. (2011, September 21). Process and product explanations of what works for LD and why. Retrieved from

Yell, M. L., Katsiyannis, A., & Losinski, M. (2014). Doug C. v. Hawaii Department of Education: Parental participation in IEP development. Intervention in School and Clinic, 25(2), 25–36.

Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


3/27/19 JN