What are Learning Disabilities?

LD's can be operationally defined in terms of impairment or deficiency in one or more of the basic functions of learning. [AC90, BR94, DA94] Definitions based on discrepancies between achievement and IQ (potential) lead to identification of about 5% of the student population as Learning Disabled. This fraction can be doubled or halved, depending on what defining criteria one selects. LD students can learn, but conventional educational delivery does not readily meet their needs. Current knowledge offers several possible ways of categorizing LD students, but offers few reliable, helpful interventions. A significant subset of LD students has difficulty learning basic arithmetic, and this is viewed as a deficiency that grows with time into serious math incompetence. [AC86, CO93]

This project will address the feasibility of using NN's to meet these students' needs through improved adaptation of the instructional content and presentation. However, the problem now appears more difficult than initially appreciated, because the state of knowledge about what constitutes possible and useful adaptations is so primitive. The research aspects of the project in the areas of basic educational processes appear substantial.

Refer to a Glossary of LD and CAI Terms to clarify terminology.

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