Specific Learning Disability (SLD): Some students with normal or even superior intellectual capacities still have significant difficulties learning. These students have difficulty processing information being presented in the teaching process and they are considered to have a specific learning disability.
In general terms a student’s eligibility for services under the specific learning disability is determined by psycho-educational evaluations of the student’s intellectual level and achievement. When these evaluations show at least a 1 to 1.5 standard deviation (depending upon age) between the student’s I.Q. and achievement (in at least one domain of achievement- reading, listening, speaking, thinking, writing, spelling, mathematical calculations), then the student may be considered to have a specific learning disability. A true specific learning disorder must be caused by a processing deficit, rather than some other cause such as illness, visual or hearing impairments, or language deficits.
Specific learning disability is probably the category whose eligibility relies most upon objective evaluations. The criteria for eligibility are covered in detail in statute and regulations. 20 U.S.C. § 1401 (26); 34 C.F.R. § 300.7 (c) (10); 34 C.F.R. § 540 through § 543.