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It Depends: A Sociohistorical Account of the Definition and Methods of Identification of Learning Disabilities


by Margaret A. Gallego, Grace Zamora Durán & Elba I. Reyes — 2006

In the midst of unprecedented knowledge generation in the field of education, the definition of learning disabilities and the methods used for its identification have essentially remained the same for nearly 30 years. Working from a sociohistorical perspective, the authors’ distinct professional positions within education (university academic, federal program officer, and school administrator) serve as the lenses to examine the constancy of the official definition and the means for the identification of learning disabilities relative to changes throughout the historical chronologies of educational theory, policy, and practice. The concept of context as that which weaves is used to illustrate the relationships across several historical episodes.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 11, 2006, p. 2195-2219
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12802, Date Accessed: 12/15/2017 3:26:02 AM

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About the Author
  • Margaret Gallego
    San Diego State University
    E-mail Author
    MARGARET A. GALLEGO is a professor at San Diego State University in the School of Teacher Education. Her research has focused on the sociocultural influences within learning environments, including schools and after-school clubs that support second language learners’ English literacy development. She has also published in the areas of teacher staff development, heterogeneous classrooms, writing and learning disabilities, multiple literacies, and feminist and action research.
  • Grace Zamora Durán
    U.S. Department of Education
    GRACE ZAMORA DURÁN is an Education Research Analyst in the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Zamora Duran works with projects pertaining to disproportionate representation in special education, culturally/linguistically diverse populations, English Language Learners (ELLs), gender equity, assessment, and curriculum and instruction. Prior to joining the Department of Education, she worked as an Assistant Executive Director at The Council for Exceptional Children, at the local level as a central administrator, and as a special and general education teacher.
  • Elba Reyes
    Casa Grande Union School District
    Dr. ELBA REYES has been in the field of education for over 20 years, in both regular and special education. Her research interest and her focus as a school administrator have been in creating environments for learning that make possible the acquisition of knowledge for all students, and specifically for students with disabilities. Presently, Dr. Reyes is expanding her knowledge of students with disabilities by directly working with students at various levels of mental retardation and autism.
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