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language-based learning disability

Accessing Learning Disability Services in College

Blog Type:  College Prep Date Posted:  Friday, December 15, 2017

student working with a college counslor

By Grace Daley

When you make the transition from high school to college, many parts of life will change. Maybe you’ll go to school in a new county, province, state, or country. Certainly, your schedule will be different than anything you've experienced. You’ll make new friends. Your teachers will be called “Professor.” You’ll likely have more homework.

Despite these changes, you, the student, will still be you. If you had a hard time waking up in high school, the same will be true in college. If you loved to read before bed, you will want to do the same as a freshman at university. And if you have a language-based learning disability (LBLD) and academic accommodations helped you in high school, they will certainly help you in college as your disability will remain with you. The difference is, in college, your disability becomes solely your responsibility.

Accommodations Offered at the College Level

You should ask yourself: What accommodations are available and how do I access them? All schools have slightly different accommodations; those available for students with LBLD often include the following:

  • Extended time on exams
  • A distraction-reduced environment for exams
  • A notetaker
  • Permission to audio-record lectures
  • Texts in audio format
  • Executive functioning coaching

All colleges have slightly different processes for requesting accommodations, but they all require students to provide documentation of their disability. As you’re thinking about beginning your college career, there are some proactive steps you can take to make sure you receive the help you need as soon as you start class.

Have updated documentation. The disability services office at a college or university must base its determination of accommodations on recent documentation of a significant need from a licensed professional. Many colleges won’t accept an IEP or 504 plan alone as documentation of a disability. Neuropsychological or psycho educational testing within three years is acceptable, but testing in a student's senior year of high school is best. Check with the colleges or universities you are applying to about their preference.

Familiarize yourself with your school’s process. The college or university's disability website is a great place to start. Send them an email or give them a call if you’re still unsure of the steps. Ask how soon you can begin receiving accommodations once you start.

Know what has worked in the past. Maybe using flashcards really helped you learn new vocabulary terms. Or perhaps it helped to make margin notes on your readings, tests, and quizzes in order to process the information. You have been given a whole toolkit of strategies that have helped you get the most out of your education. The ability to apply these strategies and advocate for help acquiring similar accommodations can make this challenging transition smoother.

Meet the people who can help you. When you arrive on campus for accepted students’ day or orientation, visit the disability services office. This can be a scary step for some, and sometimes it is easier if you go with your parents or a friend. Just remember, this office exists to support your learning needs and they want to help. Lots of aspects of your life will change in college, but you will be the constant. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Use strategies that you’ve learned and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Grace Daley is the Student Services Coordinator at Boston University's Office of Disability Services.

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Tags:  Accommodations college accommodations language-based learning disability self-advocacy

Tips for Parents Who Suspect Their Child Has a Learning Disability

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Friday, September 14, 2018

teacher working with student

By Ann Andrew

Parents know their children better than anyone else and can usually sense if something isn’t quite right with them physically, emotionally, or academically. If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, then it’s very likely there is one. I know this from experience. As an elementary school student, my oldest son struggled in school, particularly with reading. An intelligent boy, I assumed his difficulties stemmed from some sort of learning disability. He was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2011 (my two other sons were subsequently also diagnosed with dyslexia), and since then I have devoted myself to helping students with language-based learning disabilities (LBLD). LBLDs fall under the broader category of specific learning disabilities (SLD), and dyslexia is the most common SLD, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

"A child who read for 20 minutes a day is exposed to 1.8 million words a year."

Be Honest With Your Child

Your child knows they’re different. Don't try to hide what you know or suspect from them. A parent who keeps the information from them leaves the child feeling like the parent is ashamed of the child's learning difference. Your child will also benefit from speaking to a professional (neuropsychologist, school psychologist, therapist with a comprehensive understanding of LDs) once—or many times. Children need to have at least a basic understanding of the science behind how we learn to acquire language—read, and write. They need to hear from as many adults as possible that they are not “broken” or “dumb.”

Early Signs of Dyslexia and Other LBLDs

If you struggled to read (or do math or write), it's quite possible that you also have a learning disability that went undiagnosed. Parents with dyslexia have a 40-60 percent chance of having children with dyslexia—a clear early warning sign that your child may have an LBLD. Your hatred of a subject is probably borne from not being taught in a manner that was accessible to your learning style or disability.

Oral (expressive) language deficit: It’s a warning sign if you have a chit-chatting toddler who is making indecipherable sounds and words or seems challenged by learning new words.

Auditory (receptive) language deficit: Ask questions if a doctor has diagnosed your child with ADHD without addressing the possibility of an LBLD or an auditory processing disorder. Children with ADHD have the ability to process language, while children with an LBLD have a weakened ability in this area. Their slower processing of language impedes their capacity to comprehend spoken language. For these children, it is not an “inattention issue.” To complicate matters it's very common to see comorbidity (the presence of more than one distinct condition) of ADHD and dyslexia together.

Executive functioning deficits: Difficulties with attention, organization, and self-regulation are often comorbid with LBLD.

Social skills deficits: Often excused as “developmental delays,” social skills deficits can also be comorbid with learning disabilities. Ask your child’s preschool teacher if they play appropriately in school. Have they progressed from parallel to cooperative play successfully? Are they well liked by their peers or often misunderstood? Observe your child at school and see how other children interact with them in that setting. Children with dyslexia and other LBLDs can present symptoms of depression, anxiety, oppositional behavior, or disengaged behavior, in school and/or at home, which can be effects of being misunderstood or repeatedly asked to do something they do not have the skill yet to accomplish.

Facts vs Myths

Myth: Boys develop slower.
Fact: It’s not scientifically proven that one gender develops faster than the other.

Myth: We should wait and see what happens with our struggling children. “Teacher so-and-so is really good at helping kids who are struggling to read."
Fact: With early, intensive, and evidence-based intervention and instruction, children with dyslexia and other LBLDs can learn to read like their non-dyslexic peers.

Myth: Accommodations or modifications are sufficient for children with LBLDs.
Fact: Dyslexia and other LBLDs can be remediated. The longer you wait to obtain the diagnosis, the harder and more expensive it is to remediate. Accommodations or modifications without a diagnosis will not unlock your child’s potential.

Myth: People with dyslexia will never enjoy reading.
Fact: Many, many individuals with dyslexia love to read and are voracious readers. A child who reads for 20 minutes a day is exposed to 1.8 million words a year. These words help to foster a love of learning, the belief that you can dream big and achieve those goals, and confidence to make a smooth transition to college, employment, and independent living.

Parent To Do List

No two children share the same learning profile, so there’s no one-size-fits-all path to diagnosis and services. Based on my experience, here are my suggestions on how to navigate the special education landscape.

Initial diagnostic evaluations Obtain a full audiological and full vision evaluation (not a screening by the pediatrician or the school) prior to or in conjunction with any evaluation for LBLDs. Note that some advocates suggest that the child has the vision evaluation before any other testing. In addition, neuropsychologists can test for auditory processing issues and recommend a full audiological evaluation if they feel one is necessary.

If you are going to have your school district evaluate the child, be sure to put in writing that you are requesting the audiological evaluation for hearing and auditory processing be conducted by an audiologist, a vision and visual processing evaluation by an ophthalmologist, and a full neuropsychological evaluation by a neuropsychologist. This will give you a stronger opportunity to exercise your right to these types of professionals as independent evaluators if you feel the district fails to provide a comprehensive, accurate, and complete report for all areas of suspected need.

Note that school districts are required to administer a psychoeducational evaluation on request. Some may also perform a neuropsychological evaluation under certain circumstances. In a perfect world, your district would comply with all of your requests. However, few have the resources to provide the extensive testing your child may need.

You can request that the neuropsychologist observe your child over multiple days and in multiple settings (not just school), as well as attend the IEP meetings to present the report, discuss recommendations, and participate in the formulation of the IEP in the consent request. It’s unlikely that practitioners at large hospitals comply with this request, but some in private practice may.

Also, on the consent form for the neuropsychological evaluation or incorporated by reference as an attachment, document in detail all of your areas of concern—no matter how trivial they may seem. For example, a young child who doesn’t regularly turn when their name is called may have a social, hearing, or processing deficit.

From my personal experience, I recommend that your child have a neuropsychological evaluation administered by an independent neuropsychologist. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover these claims. Many will cover some, but not all, of the expense. In my opinion, this ensures that you are getting the full picture of whether or not your child is making progress, if your child has a disability, if so which one(s), how they should be remediated, at what pace you should expect results, etc.

To make sure that the evaluations are perceived as authentic and representative of the child’s entire presentation, urge private evaluators to observe the child outside of the clinical setting, collect input from the district, incorporate and correlate historical data points, provide exacting recommendations to the extent possible, and attend your IEP meeting to present the report, provide assistance during the eligibility determination, and participate in the IEP development.

Annual progress-monitoring evaluations Many schools will not conduct annual progress evaluations unless they are requested. Some evaluators will ask to see the child one year later to follow up. Schedule it on the day of the initial evaluation. Repeat key evaluations annually to cross check progress.

Tips for the IEP Meeting

Parents are the experts at the individualized education plan (IEP) meeting when it comes to their child, but to be credible we need to be aware of the laws, the academic standards, and the methodologies that will be effective for our child. Here are some tips for your IEP meeting.

  • If possible, bring an advocate to your IEP meetings.
  • It’s okay—even valuable—to record meetings.
  • Don’t sign anything except the attendance page.
  • Do not sign that you have received the meeting notes. You are not required to do so in order to obtain a copy. No matter what you write on the notes, your signature will be represented by the district as your agreement with the accuracy and completeness of what was written.
  • Follow up in writing. Keep records of all correspondence.
  • Invite your principal to attend meetings.

Key Components of the IEP For every accommodation on an IEP, there should be a corresponding IEP goal, which is designed to build the skill that is missing and thus replace the need for an accommodation. Accommodations are never a substitute for teaching.

How IEP goals are measured is one of the most critical aspects of an IEP. Without solid forms of measurements that are quantifiable and standardized in nature, any teacher can say a child is "making progress" while the student is instead floundering or even regressing.  

School district's can and do provide one-to-one special education instruction to students outside of school hours—even on weekends—in order to meet the needs of the student whose parents vigorously advocate.

If your child has met all of their goals and is within average range percentile-wise of grade level, then the IEP is working. Just because a child can see when we put glasses on them doesn't mean we can take away the glasses. It means we continue on the same path of intervention we were on to ensure the continued growth.  

The road for parents of children with a learning disability is very rarely smooth. It requires time, persistence, and patience. Your dedication is well worth the effort when you watch your child(ren) transform from struggling students to thriving, enthusiastic learners. Trust your gut and take action.

Related Resources:

About the Author

ann andrew headshot

Ann Andrew is a parent, educator, and advocate with a passion for helping students with language-based learning disabilities. Cynthia Moore, of Advocate Tip of the Day™, contributed to this blog post.]]>

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Tags:  ADHD auditory processing dyslexia awareness Executive Functioning expressive language IEP individualized education plan language-based learning disability learning differences learning disability neuropsychological evaluation oral language social skills specific learning disability

Disability Discrimination

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Angela M. Timpone

Last fall, while I watched the Norwich University football team win 19–9 against Gallaudet University, I overheard words like “dumb,” “stupid,” and “retard” from NU spectators. These words weren't comments on the Gallaudet players’ performance. The derogatory remarks referred to the players’ disabilities; Gallaudet students are deaf or hard of hearing. Disability discrimination is often more socially acceptable than high-profile race discrimination. We chuckle or look away when remarks fly about a person’s disability.

As a parent with two children with disabilities, I struggle knowing their journey will be plagued with discrimination. By early elementary school both Dylan and Tristan were labeled by peers as “stupid” and/or “dumb.” Tristan and Dylan learn and think differently compared to typically developing children.

Disability discrimination isn't limited to children on the playground. In 2013, I left a high-profile lobbying career in Vermont for Dylan to attend Landmark School. Shortly after moving to Beverly, I wrote an open letter to Vermont Governor Shumlin (who also has dyslexia) and key legislators urging them to consider ways of educating students with dyslexia. In Vermont, there are little options to educate students with dyslexia— no language-based classrooms, no trained teachers and no similar peers in our small school districts. I thought I had sympathetic readers.

In my letter I mentioned that Dylan has a superior I.Q., but he hardly knew the alphabet and that our highly regarded schools had failed him. My letter sparked responses ranging from sympathy to outrage. Some suggested, I reduce my expectations for Dylan. No way— without basic reading and writing skills all doors for Dylan’s future were closed.

My mommy magic-wand can’t eliminate discrimination. I have no good solutions. What I do know is that I am part of the problem. I shy away from talking about disability discrimination. I want to fit-in and I especially want my children to fit-in to society. I worry my avoidance to disability discrimination adds to the problem. Perhaps we need to follow the examples of race discrimination and have public conversations about disability discrimination? Better yet, maybe we can change the conversation— let’s instead talk people’s strengths and abilities versus looking at people’s deficits.

angela timpone headshot

Angela Timpone is a certified educational advocate serving Vermont and Massachusetts and founder of Camp Kaleidoscope, a camp for families with children with autism. 

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Tags:  disability disability discrimination discrimination Landmark School language based classrooms language-based learning disability LBLD

Learning with ADHD

Blog Type:  Learning Date Posted:  Monday, January 26, 2015

By Edward Hallowell, M.D., Ed.D. 

Learning with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is difficult, at best. I know because I have both ADHD and dyslexia. A phrase that I have come up with that I think best exemplifies what it is like living with ADHD is that it’s like “having a Ferrari engine for a brain with bicycle brakes.” The good news is that there are ways to strengthen these bicycle breaks to help stay on track and manage those Ferrari engine-like thoughts.

With the New Year steadily underway, there has never been a better time to take charge and evaluate what works best in trying to provide guidance to those with ADHD or, if you yourself have ADHD, finding the measures to take that work well for you. What has helped me most to overpower my ADHD began when I was in first grade. My teacher, Mrs. Eldredge, made it a point to make her students feel safe—whether they had ADHD or not—to inquire about anything. By eliminating fear, she allowed me to believe that I could be as successful as I wanted to be. I have carried this notion with me throughout my life and have instilled this belief in the patients, both children and adults, that I work with today. Having a confident mindset to take on any task will make you unstoppable. Another tip to help stay on track is to follow a schedule. Everyone needs structure, especially children, but for those who have ADHD, schedules and rules are as essential as maps and roads are for drivers. Without them, these kids can get completely lost.

With encouraging teachers and setting an organized, well-defined schedule, students will not only be more productive,  but also more excited to succeed.

dr. edward hallowell headshot

Dr. Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist, author, speaker, and leading authority  in the field of ADHD. Founder of the Hallowell Centers in New York and Boston. but also more excited to succeed.


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Tags:  ADHD adult psychiatrist attention deficit hyperactivity disorder child psychiatrist confident mind set Dr. Edward Hallowell dyslexia eliminating fear guidance Landmark School language-based learning disability Ned Hallowell student productivity student success

What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017

teacher and girl student working at table

What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? Five Part Series launched the five-part series What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? to define and explain Language-Based Learning Disabilities (LBLD), offer tips on remediation, highlight the importance of early intervention, and give readers a glimpse into the life a family with a child with LBLD.

Read these posts and give us feedback. We're eager to know what you think.

Part One: What We Know About LBLD and Learning, by Bob Broudoflame
Part Two: Language-Based Learning Disabilities: A Primer, by Melody O'Neil
Part Three: Help Your Struggling Learner: Remediation Is a Key to Success, by Christine Ozahowski
Part Four: It's a Myth That Young Children Cannot Be Screened for Dyslexia, by Nadine Gaab, PhD
Part Five: Language-Based Learning Disabilities on the Homefront, by Angela Timpone Gowans


brilliance award winner icon's post by Bob Broudo about LBLD and Learning won a 2017 Gold InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award in the national competition that recognizes excellence in private and independent school marketing and communications.

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Tags:  dyslexia early intervention early remediation programs education language-based learning disability learning research

Language-Based Learning Disabilities on the Homefront

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Byline:  By Angela Timpone Gowans

father and son at table with list

This is part five of the five-part series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? 

After I returned from the grocery store for the third time that day because I forgot another essential ingredient for dinner, Dylan laughed and exclaimed, “Mom, I think your executive functioning is not working.” I chuckled and responded, “Yes, I think you are right. I need a better strategy. I need a list!”

My husband, Bob, and I have a saying, “Know your brain and use your strategies for success.” The motto is especially applicable for our children who have Language-Based Learning Disabilities (LBLD).

Information Is Power

After two of our sons, Tristan and Dylan had cognitive evaluations, we shared some of their test scores with them so they could learn about their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. We believe information is power, and the more one knows about themselves, the more power they have to guide their life path. dyslexia strategies checklist graphic

At our house, we use phrases like Language-Based Learning Disability, executive functioning, processing speed, social norms, dyslexia, learning differences, and expected and awkward behavior. These terms describe the different ways our brains are mapped, and they help our children understand their particular brains and the minds of others. We talk about learning differences, LBLD, and neurodiversity to promote understanding and empathy toward others and themselves.

Our mission as parents is to help our children develop into independent, confident, loving, and joyful adults. To guide them through the journey, we use practical strategies and systems to help them acquire the skills they need for a successful life. Practical strategies and systems can help not only children with LBLD but all kids.

Use Your Strategies

To help our children master tasks and skills at home, we use tactics similar to those applied in their classroom. For instance, at the beginning of the summer, I said to Dylan, “You need to go to tutoring at 1:00, but before you go you need to unload the dishwasher, fold the laundry, pick up your room, go for a bike ride, and read for 30 minutes.” My approach didn’t work for Dylan. Instead, Dylan remembered a strategy he learned at school and came to me with a written task list.dyslexia success graphic

Every day, Dylan wrote his daily tasks list, and when he completed them, he did a preferred activity like watching TV or playing a video game. Dylan’s list worked for both of us. Did Dylan need practicing? Yes, of course, every day, but by the end of the summer he independently added new items to his list and required minimal prompting to complete the tasks.

We help and encourage each of our children to use strategies to master new skills and overcome executive function weaknesses. We emphasize that practice and repetition are the keys to success. We openly talk about how some people need to work harder than others or how it might take longer to develop skills.

What success looks like varies from child to child and task to task. We shy away from making excuses for our children or allowing them to give up. We just keep using our strategies to work toward our goals.


About the Author

Angela Gowans is Landmark Parents' Association co-president with her husband, Robert. Robert and Angela live in Montpelier, VT, and Beverly Farms, MA, with their children Tristan, Landmark student Dylan, and Liam. Angela is an educational advocate, family mediator, and writer.


What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? Five Part Series

This is part five of the five-part series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?

Part One: What We Know About LBLD and Learning, by Bob Broudoflame
Part Two: Language-Based Learning Disabilities: A Primer, by Melody O'Neil
Part Three: Help Your Struggling Learner: Remediation Is a Key to Success, by Christine Ozahowski
Part Four: It's a Myth That Young Children Cannot Be Screened for Dyslexia, by Nadine Gaab, PhD
Part Five: Language-Based Learning Disabilities on the Homefront, by Angela Timpone Gowans

brilliance award winner icon's post by Bob Broudo about LBLD and Learning won a 2017 Gold InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award in the national competition that recognizes excellence in private and independent school marketing and communications.

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Tags:  dyslexia Executive Functioning language-based learning disability parents

Help Your Struggling Learner: Remediation Is a Key to Success

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Thursday, November 2, 2017 Byline:  By Christine Ozahowski

girl working in tutorial

This is part three of the five-part series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?  

We know that 15%–20% of the population has a Language-Based Learning Disability (LBLD), such as dyslexia, and that students with LBLDs learn differently and need to be taught differently. There are two primary approaches to teaching students with these learning differences: accommodation and remediation.lbld graphic 1

  • Accommodations:  Allow "a student to complete the same assignment or test as other students, but with a change in the timing, formatting, setting, scheduling, response and/or presentation."1 In other words, accommodations are intended to help kids learn the same material and meet the same expectations as their classmates2.
  • Remediation: The student is taught strategies through a structured, sequential, multisensory approach that enables them to acquire academic skills in reading, spelling, and oral and written language.


Accommodations vary by student and come in many forms. Common types of accommodations include:

  • Presentation: Material is presented visually, orally, in large print, or with the use of assistive technology.
  • Exams and Assignments: Students can dictate their answers using technology or a scribe or type them.
  • Setting: Students are allowed to sit in an area of a classroom that benefits their learning style or take exams in small groups or individually.
  • Time: Students are given extended time to complete exams and assignments.
  • Assignments: Students may receive help with homework or reduced assignments, and exams and projects may be adapted.

Remedial Approach

Alternatively, students who are offered a more remedial teaching approach in a one-to-one or small-group setting can achieve academic success that they never thought possible. A 2009 study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Center for Research and Reform in Education, called a one-to-one tutorial model for reading instruction the “gold standard” of remedial instruction for struggling readers 3.

Examples of effective remedial instruction include Landmark's Six Teaching PrinciplesTM:lbld graphic 3

  • Multisensory approach: Present information to students via three sensory modalities: visual, auditory, and tactile.
  • Micro-unit and structure tasks: Break information down into its smallest units and provide clear guidelines for all assignments.
  • Provide models: Present students with concrete examples of what teachers expect.
  • Include the student in the learning process: Involve students in the learning process so they become aware of how they learn and why certain skills benefit them.
  • Provide opportunities for success: Teachers give students whatever structure is necessary to help students be successful, such as study guides, templates, and guidelines.
  • Review and practice: Provide ample opportunities for students to repeat and review learned material.

Designing an effective remedial approach to instruction depends upon an accurate assessment of the student’s cognitive ability and academic skill level. Knowing the student’s learning profile enables educators to teach to the student’s areas of strength and effectively remediate the areas of weakness or difficulty.lbld graphic 2

In her book, Overcoming Dyslexia, Dr. Sally Shaywitz describes this as the student’s “sea of strength”4.

“Whatever those strengths are—the ability to reason, to analyze, to conceptualize, to be creative, to have empathy, to visualize, to imagine, or to think in novel ways—it is imperative that these strengths be identified, nurtured, and allowed to define that child”5.

Benefits of Remediation

Extensive research supports the efficacy of remedial instruction and has informed instructional design and practice, which have been proven to be particularly effective for students with LBLD.6,7,8lbld graphic 4

The development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures brain activity, has enabled researchers to observe the effects of remedial approaches, particularly reading instruction, in children with LBLDs. The research indicates that reading remediation, especially at an early age, creates changes in the brain’s neural pathways that enable the brain to process the written word.

Early intervention for students with LBLD is a key factor in maximizing the student’s success; kindergarten and first grade are the optimal times to begin remediation. Part four of the “What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?” series address early intervention.

Reaping the Rewards of Remediation

Remediation is most successful when teachers have received highly specialized instruction and are proficient in the remedial reading program(s) they are using. Although this is not always possible, students should receive remedial instruction four to five days per week until the student is able to read fluently at grade level.

While accommodations can offer some support for students with LBLD, research clearly supports effective remediation as the best pathway to ensuring a student’s success as a reader and as a student.

  1. The Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications [webpage]. Retrieved from
  2. Wright's Law. School Accommodations and Modifications [webpage]. Retrieved from
  3. Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., Davis, S., & Madden, N. (2009, June). Effective Programs for Struggling Readers: A Best Evidence Synthesis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education.
  4. Shaywitz, Sally. (2005). Overcoming Dyslexia. New York, N.Y. Vintage (p. 57).
  5. Shaywitz, Sally. (2005). Overcoming Dyslexia. New York, N.Y. Vintage (p. 172).
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Phonological Remediation Program in Students with Developmental Dyslexia [webpage]. Retrieved from
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Phonological Remediation Program in Students with Learning Difficulties [webpage] Retrieved from
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.  Performance of School Children with Specific Reading Disabilities in a Remediation Program [webpage]. Retrieved from

About the Author


Christine Ozahowski is the former Associate Director of Admission at Landmark School.




What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? Five Part Series

This is part three of the five-part series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?

Part One: What We Know About LBLD and Learning, by Bob Broudoflame
Part Two: Language-Based Learning Disabilities: A Primer, by Melody O'Neil
Part Three: Help Your Struggling Learner: Remediation Is a Key to Success, by Christine Ozahowski
Part Four: It's a Myth That Young Children Cannot Be Screened for Dyslexia, by Nadine Gaab, PhD
Part Five: Language-Based Learning Disabilities on the Homefront, by Angela Timpone Gowans

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brilliance award winner icon's post by Bob Broudo about LBLD and Learning won a 2017 Gold InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award in the national competition that recognizes excellence in private and independent school marketing and communications.

Tags:  Accommodations language-based learning disability fMRI language remediation

Language-Based Learning Disabilities (LBLD): A Primer

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Thursday, October 26, 2017 Byline:  By Melody O’Neil

boy learning at table

This is part two of the five-part series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? 

Language-Based Learning Disabilities (LBLDs) refer to an array of difficulties related to the understanding or processing of both spoken and written language. The number and severity of language difficulties can vary widely from person to person. LBLDs can affect the following areas:glossary

  • reading
  • listening (auditory processing)
  • oral expression/word retrieval (expressive language)
  • oral comprehension (receptive language)
  • written expression (spelling, grammar, and mechanics)
  • mathematics

When we talk about reading, we’re referring to three main areas: decoding (word attack/phonological awareness), reading fluency, and reading comprehension.

LBLD, Dyslexia, and Related Disabilities

An individual diagnosed with an LBLD often has the specific diagnosis of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a phonologically-based reading disability that results in difficulty decoding words accurately, which affects reading fluency and then reading comprehension. struggles of LBLD graphicNot all people diagnosed with an LBLD have dyslexia, although the majority will. It may be that their basic decoding and reading skills are intact; however, they may struggle with other areas of language processing and written or verbal expression. These difficulties may include:

  • dysgraphia, a disorder that affects spelling, punctuation, and handwriting
  • dyscalculia, a disorder that affects someone’s number sense, math reasoning, and ability to process math facts
  • executive functioning, which limits one’s capacity to initiate and complete tasks, stay organized, manage time, and plan
  • a language disorder (formerly called mixed receptive-expressive language disorder) that affects written and oral comprehension and expression

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), and anxiety disorders are often seen as comorbid, or commonly occurring diagnoses for people with LBLDs.

Understanding the Cognitive Profile

big picture thinkerAn extremely important piece in defining and diagnosing an LBLD includes looking carefully at the individual’s cognitive profile. A person with an LBLD is going to have difficulties in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, despite having average to above-average cognitive ability, specifically in the areas of verbal comprehension, visual-spatial abilities, and fluid reasoning or problem solving. Although the LBLD individual may have somewhat lower working memory and/or processing speed, they have an overall strong ability for reasoning, problem solving, and “big-picture thinking.” They are bright, visual, and hands-on kinesthetic learners who tend to struggle more auditorily (listening).


Next Steps

If you feel that your child/student is struggling at school and suspect that they may have an LBLD, the first step to take is to have either psycho-educational testing (done through the public school system) or neuropsychological testing (done privately). Testing will provide information regarding current levels of cognitive, academic, and language functioning. This will also help with making recommendations regarding possible next steps to take and services that may be needed. Most importantly, continue to encourage your child/student, understand they are struggling, and remember that support is available for all types of learners. 


About the Author

Melody O'Neil Landmark School AdmissionsMelody O’Neil is Associate Director of Admission at Landmark School





What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? Five Part Series

This is part two of the five-part series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?

Part One: What We Know About LBLD and Learning, by Bob Broudoflame
Part Two: Language-Based Learning Disabilities: A Primer, by Melody O'Neil
Part Three: Help Your Struggling Learner: Remediation Is a Key to Success, by Christine Ozahowski
Part Four: It's a Myth That Young Children Cannot Be Screened for Dyslexia, by Nadine Gaab, PhD
Part Five: Language-Based Learning Disabilities on the Homefront, by Angela Timpone Gowans

brilliance award winner icon's post by Bob Broudo about LBLD and Learning won a 2017 Gold InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award in the national competition that recognizes excellence in private and independent school marketing and communications.

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Tags:  dyslexia language-based learning disability dyscalculia dysgraphia Executive Functioning language disorder decoding reading fluency word attack phonological awareness

Psychoeducational and Neuropsychological Evaluations Explained

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Byline:  By Anne Bellefeuille, Ph.D.


If a child is struggling at school and parents or teachers suspect that the student has a language-based learning disability (LBLD), parents should consider either psychoeducational testing or neuropsychological testing for the student.

The terms are often used interchangeably because of the overlap in assessment measures and the professionals performing them; however, the two types of evaluations differ in the scope, depth, and usage of the evaluations.

If a child is struggling at school and parents of teachers suspect that the student has a language-based learning disability (LBLD), parents should consider either psychoeducational testing or neuropsychological testing for the student.

The Psychoeducational Evaluation

A psychoeducational evaluation can be performed by a licensed psychologist,school psychologist, or a special education professional. At a minimum, a psychoeducational evaluation consists of formal assessment of cognitive/intellectual functioning (IQ) and academic achievement. This evaluation seeks to measure the discrepancies between cognitive and achievement levels. If academic skills do not meet the expected level given the cognitive/IQ profile, then a learning disability will be identified.

While the psychoeducational evaluation can be useful in identifying certain learning disabilities (such as LBLD), it is inadequate for assessing other aspects of functioning that can negatively affect learning. For example, the psychoeducational evaluation does not formally assess attention, executive functioning, and/or emotional factors that may be co-occurring with the learning disability. As such, psychoeducational evaluations will yield limited information to guide interventions.

I explain psychoeducational evaluations to parents as targeted evaluations that quantify the difficulties in reading, writing, and/or math. The psychoeducational evaluation is useful to qualify students for services and/or accommodations in school, such as extended time on tests. It falls short, however, in determining the specific services and/or interventions needed for the child to succeed.

The Neuropsychological Evaluation

The neuropsychological evaluation is performed by a licensed psychologist with a specialty in neuropsychological assessment (i.e., a neuropsychologist). It can sometimes be performed by a school psychologist who has received additional training in neuropsychological assessment. Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology that seeks to understand brain-behavior relationships. As with a psychoeducational evaluation, the neuropsychological evaluation includes cognitive/intelligence (IQ) assessment. In school-age children, the neuropsychological evaluation also includes academic testing. Thus, a psychoeducational evaluation is usually incorporated in a neuropsychological evaluation in school-age children. The neuropsychological evaluation is broader, however, as it includes assessments of specific domains. These domains include: language, visual-perceptual abilities, information processing, attention/executive functioning, learning and memory, sensory functioning, and psycho-emotional functioning. With a neuropsychological evaluation, the results obtained on cognitive/intellectual testing and academic testing (i.e., psychoeducational evaluation) are analyzed within the greater framework of brain-behavior relationships. Thus, the neuropsychological evaluation yields broader and deeper information about functioning than the psychoeducational evaluation. It provides information about how the underlying neurocognitive processes affect learning. In other words, the neuropsychological evaluation provides information as to why a child is struggling in school. A learning disability may not be present, and/or it may be co-existing with another disorder. The neuropsychological evaluation can help with differential diagnoses, such as LBLD versus ADHD, anxiety, sensory impairment, autism spectrum disorders, or language disorders, which can all have an impact on learning. By understanding the child’s functioning in greater depth and knowing strengths and weaknesses, the neuropsychological evaluation will help develop more specific individualized interventions.

Which Evaluation Should I Choose for My Child?

The choice of evaluations depends on the referral question. When diagnostic information and guidance regarding interventions are needed, a neuropsychological evaluation is usually preferred. When a child has already been diagnosed with a learning disability and only needs documentation for accommodations in school (such as extended time on tests), then a psychoeducational evaluation can be sufficient.

About the Author

Anne Bellefeuille, Ph.D. is a clinical neuropsychologist who works with students with learning disabilities, attentional disorders, and other developmental disorders. In addition to neuropsychological and educational testing, Dr. Bellefeuille also provides working memory training using Cogmed. 

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Tags:  assessment cognitive testing intellectual testing language-based learning disability neuropsychological evaluation neuroscience psychoeducational evaluation testing accommodations

What We Know About LBLD and Learning

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Byline:  Bob Broudo, Headmaster Landmark School

Bob Broudo Headmaster Landmark School

Part One of a Five-Part Series, What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?

We KNOW that the awareness of dyslexia and Language-Based Learning Disabilities (LBLD) began around 1900 with observations of children who appeared “normal” and could learn many things, yet were not learning to read and write. They were thought to have “word blindness,” or a visual problem.

At Landmark, we define LBLD as:

"A Language-Based Learning Disability (LBLD) is the inability of individuals with average to above average cognitive ability to learn at their level of potential and to access curriculum through traditional educational techniques due to neurologically-based challenges with the intake, processing, and expression of language."

Pioneers in the Study of Language-Based Learning Disabilities

In the 1930s, educators and scientists Samuel Orton, Anna Gillingham, Edith Norrie, Rita Buchan, and others began to focus their work on reading and speech difficulties. They developed specific strategies, or remedial techniques, that seemed to help, without yet fully understanding the causes of these learning challenges. 

Their strategies included: multi-sensory inputs; hierarchical, tightly structured, micro-united instruction; review and practice (repetition and spiraling); and an emphasis on cracking the code, or using a child’s cognitive ability to analyze language. These strategies continue to be ever so relevant today.

Research Continues to Shed Light on LBLDlanguage based learning disability glossary

Since the 1930s, developments in neuroscience, research, and direct experience have shown that:

  • LBLD is a language-processing problem that interferes with an individual’s ability to realize learning potential yet is unrelated to intelligence.
  • LBLD affects HOW people learn, NOT whether they CAN learn.
  • Individuals with LBLD may have average to superior cognitive ability to learn, analyze, and problem solve, yet struggle to master language through traditional educational techniques.
  • LBLD is a neurologically based learning problem.
  • LBLD is a wide-ranging issue that affects school performance, social development, family life, and relationships.
  • LBLD is a hidden handicap that is not easily identified.
  • There is no “cure” for LBLDs
  • LBLD can be devastating if undiagnosed and unremediated, and can lead to diminished self-confidence, school failure, substance abuse, involvement with the juvenile justice system, and other troubling outcomes.

Keys to Success

We also KNOW that with appropriate intervention, children and adolescents with LBLD become successful, productive, often entrepreneurial adults with LBLD. To achieve this success, we know that INTERVENTION is the key. LBLDs and dyslexia are biological, neurological, hereditary conditions for which there is no MEDICAL treatment, yet, through a diagnostic–prescriptive approach, appropriate educational models DO provide a solution.

Through science, research, and extensive experience, we KNOW that such an appropriate educational program for students with LBLD should include:

  • A thorough and appropriate diagnosis of the student’s relative processing and learning strengths and challenges
  • Individualized intervention and REMEDIATION
  • A structured, systematic language-based approach
  • A skills-based curriculum
  • Teamwork, including the parents, student, teachers, and specialists

A Rallying Call for Awareness and Collaboration

15-20% have lbld logoPerhaps the way that we can affect the most comprehensive change for all learners, especially the 15% – 20% with LBLD, is to come together, let our voices be heard, and provide better support for those that are on the front lines — teachers.

Let’s call upon educational models to become more aligned with medical models. In other words, those that are diagnostic and prescriptive.

Merging science, instruction, research, and assessment for ALL students, as the medical model would suggest, means that we provide a more thorough and appropriate educational experience for all.

We need to come together and create MUCH greater awareness, much broader and more meaningful collaborations, and a movement that cannot be overlooked — one without politics, prejudice, personal pet projects, or predetermined prescribed programs.



What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? Five Part Series

Through Landmark School’s blog,, we launched the five-part series What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability? in conjunction with Dyslexia Awareness Month. This is the first article in the series.

Part One: What We Know About LBLD and Learning, by Bob Broudoflame
Part Two: Language-Based Learning Disabilities: A Primer, by Melody O'Neil
Part Three: Help Your Struggling Learner: Remediation Is a Key to Success, by Christine Ozahowski
Part Four: It's a Myth That Young Children Cannot Be Screened for Dyslexia, by Nadine Gaab, PhD
Part Five: Language-Based Learning Disabilities on the Homefront, by Angela Timpone Gowans

brilliance award winner icon's post by Bob Broudo about LBLD and Learning won a 2017 Gold InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award in the national competition that recognizes excellence in private and independent school marketing and communications.

more learning disabilities posts

Tags:  language-based learning disability LBLD
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