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January 2011



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 National Center for Learning Disabilities

The DSM-V: An Opportunity for Improved Practice

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is writing to ask
for your help. A revision of the 2000 edition of the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (known as the DSM-IV) is
currently underway, and changes to this guide could have a powerful
impact on how decisions are made to identify (“diagnose”) and provide
services to individuals with learning disabilities.

Deadline for feedback to the DSM-V Task Force is
April 20th. Please act now!

Whether you are a parent of a child with LD, an educator or school
administrator, psychologist, speech-language pathologist, physician or
other related services provider, your feedback is critical to ensure
that the classification systems that support individuals with learning
disabilities (LD) and related disorders are up-to-date and sensitive
to the most current knowledge in the field of LD.

Please don’t delay in submitting your comments – the deadline is
Tuesday, April 20th!

To comment on the DSM-V, please follow the steps below.

* Go to DSM5.org. Look on the right side of the page and follow
the direction to “Participate” (
http://ncld. convio.net/ site/R?i= UUvQAiK_6Zy1hwop sZG-Mw..

Note: This is a multi-step process, involving a confirmation
* Once you are logged in, click on the line that reads Disorders
Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence.
Click on “Learning Disabilities. “
* You may use NCLD’s recommended text for the comment box provided
for each category, modify them, or write new comments to express
your concerns and recommendations.

On the main “Learning Disabilities” page (NCLD’s recommended text)

To better align the DSM-V with current research and practice in
learning disabilities, the following revisions in classification are

* “Learning Disabilities” be used as an overarching category with
subtypes including disorders of:

To enhance the effectiveness of the DSM-V in determining the status of
individuals who present with disorders of learning and behavior, the
following revisions in language are recommended:

* Difficulties in academic learning cannot be attributed to
intellectual disability, sensory impairment, emotional disorder
or lack of educational opportunity
* Multiple sources of data need to be used to assess academic
skills, including but not limited to norm-referenced measures of
academic achievement
* Evaluation measures need to be culturally appropriate
* “Contextualized assessment” (e.g., measures of progress over
time, integrity and duration of instruction/ intervention) should
be considered as part of the determination of a disability or

Under the category titled “315.2 Disorder of Written Expression”
(NCLD’s recommended text)

Disorders of written expression should be included under the Learning
Disabilities category as there is a significant and growing body of
research to support this subtype of LD, specifically disorders that
are not explained by problems with reading. While individuals with
reading disabilities (dyslexia) often manifest problems in this area,
disorders of written expression can also occur in the absence of
impairments in reading. This category is needed to address the needs
of individuals who, for example, have distinct trouble in the areas of
handwriting, spelling and generating text.

Under the category titled “315.9 Learning Disorder Not Otherwise
Specified” (NCLD’s recommended text)

“Learning Disabilities Not Otherwise Specified” should be retained to
capture difficulties that do not meet criterion for other areas but
that constitute significant obstacles to learning, daily living and
social-emotional wellbeing.

Under the category titled “315.1 Mathematics Disorder” (NCLD’s
recommended text)

This category should be expanded to include both Mathematics
Calculation (dyscalculia) and Mathematics Problem Solving. Research
has shown that these comprise sometimes co-occurring but distinct
subtypes of learning disabilities.

Thank you for participating in this important opportunity!

For more information about NCLD’s reccommendation to the DSM-V, read
“The DSM-V: An Opportunity for Improved Practice” on

http://ncld. convio.net/ site/R?i= zL48kyE9NC- CEXxOwtRS8w. .

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NCLD provides essential information to parents, professionals and
individuals with learning disabilities, promotes research and
to foster effective learning, and advocates for policies to protect
strengthen educational rights and opportunities.

National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc., is a not-for-profit,
tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal

All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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