SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES TEST FOR CHILDREN. (S.L.D.)
A.k.a. THE CANTWELL SLD TEST FOR CHILDREN.
THE ONLY DIAGNOSTIC TEST FOR SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES IN CHILDREN.(S.L.D.)
RONALD J. CANTWELL MD, FAAP, FRCP (Ed), FRACP.
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Child Development and Learning Disorders) University of Miami School of Medicine (Retired)
*WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES (S THAT ARE IDENTIFIED VBY THE SLD TEST?
Specific Learning Disability is a life-long neurological condition defined by the Department of Education as:-
“A DISORDER OF ONE OR MORE OF THE BASIC PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESSES INVOLVED IN UNDERSTANDING OR IN USING LANGUAGE, SPOKEN OR WRITTEN THAT MAY MANIFEST ITSELF IN AN IMPERFECT ABILITY TO LISTEN, THINK, SPEAK, READ, WRITE, SPELL, or to do DO MATHEMATICAL CALCULATIONS.”
Individuals with S.L.D., frequently have more than one disability, so this disorder is often named Specific Learning Disabilities. This occurs in the neurological condition known as Minimal rain Dysfunction. S.D. can exist alone or in conjunction with another learning disorder known as Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
These students with S.LD learn differently and less efficiently than other students. This is why they start to fall further behind them from their first day in school. Students with SLD should be identified as early as possible and before the end of first grade. This will reduce the severity of the academic achievement gap that has developed before the disability is identified.
Teachers have great difficulty identifying first-grade students with S.L.D. and also in deciding if a student’s academic progress is so inadequate that a full psychological evaluation is indicated. There are also many other confusing factors. These include a student’s age, family socioeconomic status, parental intelligence, educational background, the primary language spoken in the home, and the amount of pre-school stimulation, etc. These S.L.D. students learn differently and less efficiently than their peers. This is because they usually have difficulty with concentration and are more easily distracted than other students. In addition, they have a problem remembering what they have heard and often would like to ask that the teacher repeat what she has just said but they resist because of possible repercussions. They also can have difficulty organizing and completing timed assignments. They are more easily distracted by sights or sounds. If these problems are severe, these students require a different kind of instruction (Special Education) where they can receive the additional instruction and attention that they require. If this is inadequate, increasing academic underachievement develops and if identification does not occur before second or third grade this associated academic delay can be difficult to overcome.
Early identification in first grade followed by appropriate special education is the most effective method to prevent many of the undesirable effects of S.L.D. These students usually require specific testing by the school psychologist to meet Federal and State eligibility requirements. This is often a lengthy process and is not likely to be completed before the end of first grade.
Schools do not appear to have an easy way to determine which students with learning difficulties should receive a full psychological evaluation. Because of this, there is a tendency to wait until the problem becomes more obvious before such a referral is made. However, unfortunately, this lengthy process increases the academic deficit present at the time of identification. This may well be irreversible if identification does not occur before third grade.
Learning disorders in children A RE a causative factor in the 20% of students who drop out of high school because of their continued lack of success in the classroom. The Cantwell SLD TEST will not only identify if a learning problem is present, but it will also determine if SLDS.L.D. or Dyslexia is responsible for the student’s learning difficulties. This Test was designed for the early identification of S.L.D. (before the end of first grade.) This will reduce the academic gap that developed before the S.L.D. is identified.
The S.L.D. Test will identify first-grade students, but it can also be effective up to the age of eight years. Every S.L.D. Test positive student requires a psychological evaluation to confirm SL.D. and to determine if the student meets the Federal and State requirements to qualify for Special education.
INCIDENCE OF SLD IN FIRST-GRADE STUDENTS.
With the kind cooperation of the School’s Principal and staff, and with parental permission every first-grade student at one Miami elementary school received the Cantwell SLD. Test over a period of two school years. Dr. Cantwell had been authorized by the Miami-Dade County School Board to carry out this research project to determine the for the first documented time, the incidence of S.L.D. in the final semester of first-grade students. This was carried out for each of the two school years. The Test positive students were then followed up in second grade to assess if the Test had correctly predicted future learning difficulties. This is the first research-based incidence of S.L.D. in first-grade students confirmed by a psychologist. In addition, it was predicted that every student identified with S.L.D. would have significant learning difficulties in second grade. However, as the Test was designed to be monitored by a high school graduate, a few selected P.T.A. (Parent-Teacher Association) volunteers were permitted to monitor the remaining students being tested. Each was given a brief written explanation of the Test and how it should be correctly monitored. To evaluate the reliability of those tested by P.T.A. volunteers, the author retested ten of these volunteer produced test results and found over 90% correlation. This is proof that a professional test administrator is not necessary to accurately administer or monitor the Cantwell SD. Test.
Of the 112 students who received the Cantwell SLD. Test, 23 students tested positive and were later confirmed as having S.L.D. following psychological evaluation. This is an incidence of 20.53% of first-grade students who have Specific Learning Disabilities.
Psychological evaluations were completed on each of the 23 test-positive students. The school Psychologist reported that each one of these students displayed the psychological characteristics typically seen in students with S.L.D. This confirmed the presence of S.L.D. in each Test positive student. Of the 112 students tested over a period of two years, 23 or 20.5% were identified with S.L.D. Thus, one in every five first-grade students had SLD.
The S.L.D. severity varied between students so that only 35% of these Test positive students met the Federal or State special education criteria for learning disabilities. Thus the majority of SLD. students remained in a regular education classroom. Even with classroom modifications, it is very difficult for these students to get the additional attention that they require to be able to learn at a rate similar to the other students. They continued to struggle academically and are likely to remain behind the other students academically. This is because they learn less efficiently than their peers and it is only possible to catch up with them academically if they can be taught to learn more efficiently than their peers. This is a very difficult task
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT YOUR FIRST, SECOND, OR THIRD-GRADE STUDENT IS NOT MAKING ADEQUATE PROGRESS IN SCHOOL?
iF sO, YOU SHOULD REGISTER THIS STUDENT TO TAKE THE THE CANTWELL SLD TEST. THIS WILL DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF THE LEARNING DISORDER AND WILL ORGANIZE THE APPROPRIATE CORRECTIVE TREATMENT.
FOR CA LIMITED TIME YOURSTDETV CAN NOW TAKE THE TEST FOR FREE, AND A T AT OUR CONVENIENCE.
WHO IS PROFESSOR RONALD J. CANTWELL M. D.
Ronald J Cantwell MD. is Board certified in Developmental Pediatrics, Learning, and Behavioral Pediatrics and has training in Child Neurology. He was employed by University-affiliated multidisciplinary teams at the J.F. Kennedy Institute for Child Development at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. He also supervised the training of Pediatric Residents in Child Development at the University of Miami Child Development Center. Here, he worked with Professor Joseph R Grassi Ph.D. Chief of Child Psychology, who developed the Reading Readiness Skills program known as SCOPTEC (Simulation of Cognition using Operant Techniques.) Later, Dr. Cantwell used his SCOPTEC experience to develop the corresponding medical model for children in the Specific Learning Disabilities Test at the University of Miami Center for Child Development. Dr. Cantwell worked in University faculty teams with Child Neurologists, Special Educators, speech and language professionals. This team evaluated and managed children with developmental and
learning disorders. Later, he also founded the Miami Pediatric Achievement Center for the evaluation of Learning Disorders. He was elected President of the Florida Association for Children with Learning Disabilities and was its representative on the National Board of Directors of this Association. He founded Cantwell Academy, a clinical school for K-6 students with significant learning disorders. His research resulted in the successful use of the S.L.D. Test for f 6-8-year-old students. He received awards for services to children from the Miami-Dade School Board and the Board of Public Instruction in Broward County, Florida. He was elected State President of the Florida Association of Children with Learning Disabilities. His research into the need for early identification resulted in the successful diagnostic SLDTest for 6-8-year-old students. S.L.D. is the commonest form of learning disorder, that occurs in one of every five students. Teachers and parents have great difficulty identifying these students who require special individualized testing. Schools do not appear to have any simple test to identify first-grade students with SL.D or Dyslexia. This normally requires a referral for an evaluation by the school psychologist. This involves a complicated battery of tests that may not be completed before the third grade. The Cantwell S.L.D. Test, however, can identify students with S.L.D. before the end of first grade. Psychological testing does not always identify students with milder forms of S.LD. However but these are easily identified by the S.L.D. Test.
tHE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY IDENTIFICATION OG SLD AND DYSLEXIA.
Every teacher will agree that the early identification of students with learning disorders is essential for the best long-term educational results. However, this has been very difficult for schools to achieve. Students are frequently not fully identified before third grade and less severely affected S.L.D. students are often not identified at all because they are not thought to have a problem severe enough to require evaluation. These students would also benefit from classroom modifications, but they do not have this opportunity. The fact that Schools have been unable to find a satisfactory solution to these problems is demonstrated by the fact that the national high school dropout rate of students has remained at about 20% in recent years.
The author decided to assist schools in overcoming this problem by creating a new, simple, accurate, and easy to administer S.L.D. screening Test that identifies high-risk S.L.D.
students as early as in the first grade before any significant learning difficulties develop.
A major problem appeared to be the difficulty teachers have in identifying high-risk SLD. students that need an evaluation by the school psychologist so that in many instances the student had quite an academic gap before they were identified. This is very difficult to overcome later.
The SLD. Test can be effectively administered without delay by a high school graduate. This allows any Test positive student to be fully evaluated by the school psychologist with a minimal achievement gap before the end of first grade. The Psychologist will then confirm the presence of S.L.D. and will determine if the student meets the Federal criteria for Special Education as an SLD. student.
This decision was taken to avoid the often long wait for a psychological evaluation to be completed. This would reduce the pre-identification academic deficits that existed at the time SLD . is identified.
This SLD. a screening test has been proven to be effective when it is administered by a college-educated adult in place of the Psychologist. This will identify the presence of SLD.. and it will avoid the sometimes lengthy time it often takes waiting to be tested by the psychologist. Test positive students would now be fully evaluated by the school psychologist to confirm the presence of the S.L.D.
WHY Was THE SLD TEST WAS DEVELOPED?
The Cantwell online SLD. The test was developed utilizing the author’s 30 years of clinical experience gained while working with students referred to him with learning disorders. He realized that schools would benefit from this successful research-based S.L.D. early identification Test that he had developed for first-grade students. This would not only solve one of the school’s long-standing problems but would also allow special education to make an early start to reduce the achievement gap that is always present when S.L.D. is first identified.
HOW THE CANTWELL SLD TEST WAS CREATED?
This Test was not designed to evaluate students in whom the primary language spoken in the home is not English. This would very likely result in difficulties in accurately interpreting the Test results.
The successful SLD Test determines if there is delayed development of cognitive and educational milestones that are present normally in first-grade students. These include the identification of numbers and letters, the connection between sounds and letters and words, etc. It also measures essential educational components such as visual attention span and memory, auditory attention and memory, word meaning, etc. However, in students with SLD. and Dyslexia, these milestones are developmentally delayed in differing degrees of severity into second grade, or later.
The use of the SLD Test will save as much as 9-12 months of pre-identification academic failure time compared with the standard psychological testing in the sequence of evaluation because of the shorter time taken for the psychological evaluation.
This easy to administer Test is not difficult for a high school graduate to identify high-risk SLD first grade students who will then require an evaluation by the school psychologist for confirmation of their positive SLD Test results. This will avoid any prolonged time waiting for an evaluation to be confirmed before serious academic delays develop. A Psychologist needs to confirm the presence of S.L.D. and to determine if the Federal and State criteria for special education as an S.L.D. Students have been met. If so, and the student received appropriate educational assistance, this will lead to a reduction in the present high school dropout rate of 20%. These S.L.D. students make up 50% of all special education students. It is important to understand the known components that are required for normal cognitive and educational learning milestones that take place. The Test will determine if a student had this lifelong neurological condition that is responsible for their learning difficulties. The author’s objective was to develop a simple and accurate test, based on experience gained from the Grassi SCOPTEC Test of Reading Readiness Skills and in the use of the U.S. D.O.E.’s criteria for the definition of Specific Learning Disabilities. If the student’s test answers meet the D.O.E. requirements for S.D., then this indicates the presence of SLD Documented SLD students were always found to have S.L.D. Test scores that were lower than the scores of the normal S.L.D. negative students. The lower the SLD Test score is, the more severe is the S L.D. When the answers to the test questions were reviewed by a psychologist, it became clear that these answers fulfilled the D.O.E. criteria for a student with S.L.D. or Dyslexia. The author also decided to use the Department of Education’s definition of S.L.D. to develop the wording in some of the questions for the CantwellSLD Test. Other Test questions ask about the presence or absence of some normal first-grade educational milestones, as these are frequently delayed in the S.L.D. student. Other Test questions were worded to determine if certain signs and symptoms of S.L.D. are present. (Examples: attentional difficulties, or short-term memory difficulties)
The Specific Learning Disabilities Test contains a series of questions to determine if the student meets the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of SLD. In addition, the student’s answers to the test questions will determine if every normal first-grade educational milestone has been achieved before the end of first grade. Delayed development of these essential milestones supported the presence of SLD..
ADMINISTRATION OF THE SLD. TEST TO 6-8YEAR OLD STUDENTS.
The SLD. Test is taken on any internet-connected computer. The Test is simple and easy to administer. It requires monitoring of the student by a high school graduate. Previously the whole evaluation was carried out by the Psychologist. This can still be done but this is unnecessary because it will be carried out later only on students who are SLD. Test-positive. Thus, students with a negative SLD TeTst do not require a full psychological evaluation unless there are factors that suggest otherwise.
The Monitor sits beside the student at the computer and simply reads each test question in turn to the student, and then listens carefully for the answer. If the answer is correct the supervisor checks the blue circle into the computer. If the answer is not correct the red circle is checked. If there is no response to a question, the question can be repeated, but it must follow the exact wording of the original question. The Test takes about 30 minutes for all the questions to be answered. A report with the Test results and parental management suggestions is e-mailed to the parent.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LEARNING QUOTIENT (L.Q.)?
The SLD. Test has 10 different groups of questions with five questions in each group. Each correct answer scores two points, and two points are deducted for each incorrect answer. The maximum total score of 100 as a measure of the severity of the student?shools can be expected to reduce illiteracy rates. It also can be expected to reduce the 20% average high school dropout rate and increase the average National High School graduation rate of 80%. The Cantwell SLD Test meets the projected requirements of simplicity, accuracy, and ease of administration. It does not require the services of the Psychologist for identification purposes, but any Test positive student requires confirmation by the psychologist, who will also exclude any additional issues and will assess if the student meets the criteria for Special Education.
WHAT FIRST-GRADE EDUCATIONAL MILESTONES ARE EVALUATED IN THE SLD. TEST?
- Visual identification of numbers.
- Visual identification of upper case letters.
- Visual orientation of numbers and letters.
- The visual attention span for numbers and letter
- Visual memory for numbers and letters
- Visual word recognition.
- Auditory discrimination of similar-sounding words.
- Auditory sequential memory for numbers and letters
- Auditory short-term memory and attention span for sentences.
- Meaning of the spoken word (vocabulary)
ACCURACY OF THE SLD TEST, AND ITs PREDICTED ACADEMIC DIFFICULTIES
The names of the first year of first grade students who tested positive for SLD were recorded for follow-up assessment of these students in the second grade. This allowed an evaluation of the negative academic effect of the S.L.D. on their future scholastic achievements.
At the start of second grade, it was noted that the student with the lowest S.L.D. score in first grade had been retained in first grade because of inadequate scholastic progress. The remaining test-positive students were receiving some form of special education assistance.
To answer the question of academic progress, at mid-year, the teachers of these second-grade students were asked to provide the academic achievement levels of each SLD Test-positive student for my research, and she kindly agreed. For an above grade level achievement in Reading, Spelling, or Math, each student received a score of one point for or an above grade level. performance.. If the the achievement level was at grade level , the score was two points. If the student was below grade level , the score was three points.
below grade level a score of three aS ANAT GRADE LEVEL If at grade level 2, and 3 if below grade level.
None of the Test-positive students received scores of 1 or 2. All of these students had scores of 3 in Reading and Spelling, but only 30% received scores of 3 in Math.e receiving some form of Special Education and at least two of these students were receiving Methylphenidate (Ritalin) a not uncommonly prescribed medication to improve attention, focus, coordination, memory and to improve writing skills in students with SLD. and ADHD.
WHO BENEFITS MOST FROM THE SLD TEST?
A first, second, or third-grade student with any of the following characteristics will benefit from taking the SLD. Test.
Is very active, restless, rarely still.
- Difficulty paying attention, and easily distracted except with electronic devices.
- Confusion recognsing letters and their associated sounds when spoken.
- Struggles with reading, writing, spelling or nath
- Reading is slow, with frequent pauses.
- Difficulty understanding or following instructions.
- Difficulty remembering instructions.
- Difficulty communicating when speaking.
- The Teacher has requested a parent-teacher conference.
- Difficulty maintaining attention except with T.V. or a hobby.
- Difficulty completing actions in a timely manner.
- Gets easily frustrated.
- Forgetful and often needs instructions repeated.
- Parents have difficulty deciding if their child has a learning problem.
- School report states card says “could do better or “needs to try a little harder”
- A close relative had school learning problems and does not enjoy reading.
HOW TO KNOW IF A 6-8 YEAR- OLD STUDENT HAS SLD.
This 6-8-year-old student with average or higher intelligence should take the Cantwell SLD. Test. The see Test questions can all be correctly answered by the average first-grade student with no learning problems, So if the student correctly answers every test question, it would not be possible for this student to meet the D.O.E.’s definition of S.L.D., and this student has no evidence of S.L.D. or any other learning disorder. However, if the student cannot correctly answer every Test question, then that student will meet the criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities, as defined by the Department of Education.
WHAT MAKES THE SLD TEST UNIQUE?
This Test t can be taken by any 6-8-year-old student without the diagnostic input of a Psychologist. However, the Psychologist is still necessary to evaluate each test-positive student to ensure that at least average intelligence is present, and to determine if the student meets Federal criteria as an S.L.D. student. The Test not only detects major learning disorders such as Specific Learning Disabilities or Dyslexia but unlike any other test it does this as early as first grade. In addition, unlike any other Test, it measures the severity of the student’s learning problem and documents the student’s own visual or auditory learning style. It will also detect the student’s learning strengths and weaknesses that are useful when developing an individualized remedial educational plan.
REGISTER A 6-8-YEAR-OLD STUDENT NOW TO BENEFIT FROM THE SLD. TEST WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT.