2006 Conference General Sessions



Pene Chambers

Kennedy Krieger Institute
707 N. Broadway
Baltimore MD 21205
Day Phone: 800—873—3377
Email: chambers@kennedyKrieger.org

The regulations for Public Law 101—476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), define a learning disability as a “disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations.”


The Federal definition further states that learning disabilities include “such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.” The label “learning disabilities” describes a syndrome, not a specific child with specific problems. The definition assists in classifying children, not teaching them. Children with learning disabilities may exhibit a combination of characteristics.

Many different estimates of the number of children with learning disabilities have appeared in the literature (ranging from 1% to 30% of the general population). The U.S. Department of Education (2000) reported that, in the 1998-99 school year, over 2.8 million children with learning disabilities received special education and related services.

Students who have learning disabilities may exhibit a wide range of traits, including problems with reading comprehension, spoken language, writing or reasoning ability. Hyperactivity, inattention and perceptual coordination problems may also be associated with learning disabilities. Other traits that may be present include a variety of symptoms, such as uneven and unpredictable test performance, perceptual impairments, motor disorders, and behaviors such as impulsiveness, low tolerance for frustration, and problems in handling day-to-day social interactions and situations.

Examples, Subsets and Synonyms for Learning Disorders (learning disabilities,
Specific Learning Disorders)
Reading Disorder (Dyslexia)
Arithmetic Disorder (Dyscalculia)
Writing Disorder (Dysgraphia, Graphomotor Disorder)
Disorder of Written Expression
Language Disorder

As one of the leading facilities in the country that provides evaluations and rehabilitation services to children with brain—related injuries, Kennedy Krieger Institute is dedicated to using its resources to help increase the number of qualified specialists in the United States and abroad. Every year, more than 400 people, from all academic levels, come to KKI to train with renowned experts. Individuals who participate in the training programs come from a wide variety of disciplines including audiology, education, genetics, health administration, nursing, nutrition, occupational and physical therapy, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology (behavioral and, neuropsychology), social work and speech language pathology. Medical trainees at all levels of their careers seek additional training from the Institute. The goals of the Institute’s clinical training programs are twofold: 1) to train leaders in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities and 2) to help ensure that there is a sufficient number of qualified professionals to meet the needs of children with special health care needs and their families.

In addition to clinical training, the Kennedy Krieger Institute is actively involved in the training of the next generation of researchers. The Institute provides research training from undergraduate to post graduate levels. The Institute’s research resources are all brought to bear in the training of young investigators.

The Institute provides training to those who are already in the field. Publications, continuing education activities, outreach training, technical assistance and other dissemination activities are some of the ways that the Kennedy Krieger Institute meets its training mission. Newer technologies such as the worldwide web and distance learning techniques are being used to improve the care of children with special health care needs and their families.


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