The International School Psychology Association (ISPA)
Global Networking Forum – Weekend Webinar Series
Series 1: The Impact of Covid-19 on School Psychology Around the World

Webinar 2: Sunday 29th November 2020
Host country: United States of America (5 P.M. New York local time)
Dr. Dawn P. Flanagan

Learning Disabilities Diagnosis and Intervention:
The Research, The Controversies, The Pandemic, and Future Directions

Identification and diagnosis of specific learning disabilities (SLD) has not been without controversy and debate since it was coded into federal law in 1975.  There are currently three methods that may be used to identify students with SLD in public schools in the United States: 1) Ability-Achievement Discrepancy; 2) Response to Intervention (RTI); and 3) Alternative Research-based Approaches. Although the percentage of school districts using each of these methods is about equal, an alternative research-based method known as patterns of strengths and weaknesses (PSW) is growing in popularity and therefore has been the subject of research and critical review in recent years. Researchers who advocate for RTI and who find little to no value in the use of cognitive tests for SLD determination are the authors of these research studies and reviews. Furthermore, the current pandemic is being used to promote RTI by claiming that the norms for standardized cognitive tests may no longer apply. However, there is little support for this claim and RTI by default does not make this method valid. This webinar will briefly describe current methods of SLD identification and research on their diagnostic accuracy and psychometric limitations.  Suggestions for circumventing these limitations and improving diagnostic accuracy will be provided and future directions for SLD identification will be offered. It will be argued that the best method for SLD identification in light of current and emerging research is a combination of RTI and PSW and that cognitive assessment is necessary for SLD diagnosis and intervention. This webinar will conclude with information on how to link assessment results to interventions that have a high probability in leading to positive outcomes for students. 

Learning Objectives
1. Participants will learn the main research findings on PSW and how they apply to other methods of SLD identification
2. Participants will gain an understanding of the psychometric limitations of all methods of SLD identification and how to address them to improve diagnostic accuracy
3. Participants will learn how to facilitate the assessment-intervention connection and why it is often lacking in SLD evaluations

About Dr. Dawn P. Flanagan
Dr. Dawn P. Flanagan is Professor of Psychology at St. John’s University in Queens, NY.  She is also an Affiliate Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.  She serves as an expert witness, learning disabilities consultant, and test/measurement consultant and trainer/speaker for organizations both nationally and internationally.  Dr. Flanagan is Chair of the Professional Advisory Board for the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). She is also a widely published author as well as a co-developer of the Cross-Battery Assessment approach and its corresponding software system (X-BASS). Her most recent books include Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues – 4th edition; Essentials of Specific Learning Disability Identification – 2nd edition; Essentials of WISC-V Assessment; and Clinical Use and Interpretation of the WJ IV: Scientist-Practitioner Perspectives. She is also co-developer of the new Intervention Library: Finding Interventions and Resources for Students and Teachers (IL:FIRST®). Dr. Flanagan is Fellow of APA’s Division 16 and Diplomate of the American Board of Psychological Specialties.

To be included on the mailing list for webinar registration please provide your contact details via the form: ISPA Global Networking Forum Mailing List.
A zoom link will be sent to all registrants of the International School Psychology Association (ISPA) Global Networking Forum.
The ISPA Global Networking Forum is a collaboration between ISPA, Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia) and St. John’s University (New York, USA) and provides an opportunity for school psychologists around the world to connect with one another and discuss current practices, challenges and opportunities in school psychology The ISPA Global Networking Forum is led by Associate Professor Monica Thielking (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia); Professor Bill Pfohl (Western Kentucky University, ISPA); and Professor Mark Terjesen (St John’s University, New York).

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