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NCLD Releases Biennial “State of Learning Disabilities” Report

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) released its biennial report, “State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends and Indicators.” The publication provides the authoritative national and state-by-state snapshot of learning disabilities (LD) in the United States, and their impact on the ability of students and adults to achieve educational success and employment. “State of Learning Disabilities” also clarifies what a learning disability is and explains the common misperceptions associated with LD.

“NCLD’s second edition of the State of Learning Disabilities gathers in one place the essential information that policy makers and the public need to understand about learning disabilities and the profound impact they have on millions of children and adults,” said James H. Wendorf, executive director of NCLD. “We offer this resource to guide public discourse as Congress continues its work on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which affects the 2.5 million students with LD who are in pre-K to grade 12 classrooms.”

The report documents significant advancements for students with learning disabilities as well as continued challenges facing older students, college students and adults with LD. Key findings include:

  • The number of school-age children with learning disabilities has declined by 14% during the last decade.
  • 2.5 million public school students have learning disabilities and are eligible to receive special education – representing 42% of the 5.9 million students with disabilities, down from a high of over 50% a decade ago.
  • Learning disabilities do not include conditions such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, intellectual disabilities, autism, deafness and blindness yet such conditions are often confused with LD.
  • More students with LD are graduating with a regular high school diploma (64%) than only a decade ago (52%) and fewer students with learning disabilities are dropping out of school (22%) than in 1999 (40%).
  • Students with LD attend postsecondary education at lower rates than their non-disabled peers. Only 10% of students with learning disabilities enrolled in a 4-year college within 2 years of leaving high school.
  • Adults with learning disabilities still struggle to find employment (55% employed) compared to their non-disabled peers (76% employed) with 39% of adults with LD not in the workforce.

NCLD Board Member and former Governor of New Jersey Thomas H. Kean commented, “NCLD, with the State of Learning Disabilities, has published a critical report that will further the debate over how to strengthen the programs and policies we have in place to serve and protect students and adults with learning disabilities.”

“The State of Learning Disabilities provides an invaluable resource for policy makers and the public to understand better the opportunities and challenges facing students and adults with disabilities,” stated Gaston Caperton, president of The College Board. “Thank you to the National Center for Learning Disabilities for creating and publishing this important report.”

The State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends and Indicators updates the initial release of the State of Learning Disabilities published in 2009. These reports provide the only comprehensive examination of LD in the U.S. and the impact on educational achievement and obtaining and maintaining employment. The full report and related information can be found at ld.org/stateofld.

NCLD has a comprehensive set of recommendations to strengthen the educational outcomes, including student achievement and graduation from high school and college, for students with LD as a part of Congress’s work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These recommendations will also improve the ability of these students, once they become adults, to obtain and maintain employment. These recommendations can be found here.

The mission of the National Center for Learning Disabilities is to ensure success for all individuals with learning disabilities in school, at work and in life. We:
• Connect parents and others with resources, guidance and support so they can advocate effectively for their children.
• Deliver evidence-based tools, resources and professional development to educators to improve student outcomes.
• Develop policies and engage advocates to strengthen educational rights and opportunities.

More information about NCLD can be found at LD.org.

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