The LD label for relatively well-functioning students: A critical analysis

Michael Gordon, Lawrence Lewandowski, Shelby Keiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The number of students identified since the mid-1970s as having learning disabilities has produced a corresponding increase in the population of such individuals in postsecondary programs. The Americans with Disabilities Act, along with Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provide the basis for civil rights for students in higher education. These laws protect individuals who have a substantial limitation in a major life activity when compared with the general population. A disparity between the legal definition and the clinical definition of learning disabilities, which can encompass those identified on the basis of academic underachievement relative to intellectual potential, has stimulated debate about the fairest, most appropriate standard for declaring a student functionally impaired. Extending services to individuals without significant academic impairment may tax or even deplete scarce resources for others in greater needs, distort the normal processes by which individuals select careers, and diminish the credibility of the diagnosis itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-490
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of learning disabilities
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • General Health Professions


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