Question: When is a definition not a definition?
Answer: “Learning disabilities are now defined in federal legislation. Public Law 910230, dated April 13, 1970, states:
“The term ‘children with specific learning disabilities’ means those children who have a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.
“Such disorders include such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia.
“Such term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the results of visual, hearing or other motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental disadvantage.”
Comment: A whole lot more needs to be defined before this “definition” makes any sense to the “layman,” meaning “me.” For example, what does “disorder,” and “imperfect ability” mean? What is the meaning of “perceptual handicaps,””minimal brain dysfunction,” “dyslexia” and “developmental aphasia”? The problem of understanding technical terminology is staggering. I invite anyone to attempt to express these terms in plain, clear and intelligible language to do so. You will be doing this “layman” (and a large number of others) a considerable service. And you might add “ADD” and “autism” to the mix. I know. You can’t make complex conditions simple. But I do believe they can be explained so that ordinary, fairly well educated human beings can begin to understand them. RayS.
Title: “The Clip Sheet.” Ed. Eleanor M. Ladd. Reading Teacher (January 1971), p. 383.