Specific learning disability (SLD) means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or perform mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, motor disabilities, cognitive disabilities, emotional disturbance, cultural factors, environmental, or economic disadvantage. When someone suspects a student has a SLD, a referral for a special education evaluation is made. A team, which includes the student's parents, conducts the evaluation and decides if the student meets state and federal eligibility criteria for special education.
Wisconsin’s SLD eligibility rule was revised effective December 1, 2010. Before an IEP team can determine a student has a SLD, it must document the student, after intensive intervention, demonstrates inadequate achievement and insufficient progress in one or more of the following areas: oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading fluency skills, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, and mathematics problem solving . The IEP team may not identify a student as having SLD if the student's achievement problems are primarily due to one or more exclusionary factors. If the SLD criteria are met, the IEP team goes on to determine whether the student needs special education (see PI 11.35).
State and Federal SLD Criteria
- Wisconsin SLD criteria (effective 12/1/2010), Wis. Admin. Code s. PI 11.36 (6) - Appendix A - Regression Formula.
- Federal SLD Criteria
Guidance for Implementing Wisconsin Criteria for Specific Learning Disability
- Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) after the Sunset: Half-Day Update and Share Shop
- What Districts Must Have in Place to Implement the Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) Insufficient Progress Criterion by December 1, 2013
- SLD Update: What Districts Must Have in Place by December 1 with Speaker Notes (Fall 2013)
- SLD Eligibility PowerPoint with Notes (December 2013)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Making SLD Eligibility Decisions (December 1, 2013)
- SLD Technical Guide for Eligibility Determination ( December 2013)
- SLD Evaluation Requirements Checklist ( November 2013)
SLD Eligibility Forms
- Summary of Forms Revisions
- ER-2A Required documentation for SLD - Initial Evaluation
- ER-2B Required documentation for SLD - Reevaluation
- ER-2C Required documentation for SLD - Initial Evaluation using Significant Discrepancy
- Guidance and Instructions for Completing the Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Sample Forms ER-2A, ER-2B, and ER-2C (October 2013)
Other Related Forms
- ER 1 Evaluation Report (including eligibility determination and need for special education) - MS Word
- M-3 Sample Agreement to Extend Time Limit To Complete SLD Evaluation - MS Word
Supplemental Guidance Resources
- SLD in Plain Language
- Sample SLD Notification for Schools as Required by PI 11.36(6)(c)2, April 2012
- SLD Rule: Guiding Questions for Self-Assessing Readiness for Implementation
- SLD Rule Implementation and RtI
Other Eligibility Guidance
- Dyslexia and Specific Learning Disabilities, a memo from Stephanie Petska to Special Education Directors, 11/9/2006
- A Guide to Reading Fluency and the Assessment of Specific Learning Disabilities in the IDEA 2004, DRAFT - Webcast - PowerPoint
Other Eligibility Resources
- SLD Data Graphing Tool - Graphing Tool Directions
- Wisconsin Intensive Intervention Selection Tool
- SLD Regression Table
- SLD Regression Calculation Program:
- SLD Significant Discrepancy Charting Program
- Significant Discrepancy--Background Paper
- Opening Doors Transition Series
- A selection of links to other information about learning disabilities
Students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) represent one of the largest disability areas in the state. Almost one third of students with disabilities have been identified as having a specific learning disability. There are about 37,000 children with a primary disability of SLD in Wisconsin. This represents slightly less than 4% of the total PK-12 student population in the state.
Students with SLD are educated using a variety of approaches including individual, small and large group instruction. Special education and related services often consist of specialized instruction in academic compensatory skills as identified by a student's IEP team. The majority of students with SLD receive most of their instruction in the general education setting with supplemental specialized instruction and support provided by certified special education teachers. Collaboration between general and special educators is critical to the success of these students.