Forward Together: Helping Educators Unlock the Power of Students Who Learn Differently

Key Findings: Mindsets and Practices to Better each Students With Learning and Attention Issues

In the United States, 1 in 5 students have learning and attention issues. This includes those with identified specific learning disabilities, diagnosed ADHD, or related disorders that impact learning. The majority of the 1 in 5 spend at least 80% of their time in general education classrooms, where many struggle to achieve at grade level despite often having average or above average intelligence.

NCLD and Understood sought to better understand how to help educators unlock the potential of the 1 in 5. Through an extensive literature review of empirical studies, we found evidence of specific critical mindsets and key practices that can improve outcomes for students with learning and attention issues — and all students!


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1 Soodak, L. C., Podell, D. M., & Lehman, L. R. (1998). Teacher, student, and school attributes as predictors of teachers’ responses to inclusion. The Journal of Special Education, 31(4), 480–497. doi: 10.1177/002246699803100405

2 Cullen, J., Gregory, J., & Noto, L. (2010). The teacher attitudes toward inclusion scale (TATIS) technical report. Online submission.

3 Cohen, J. (2018). Practices that cross disciplines? Revisiting explicit instruction in elementary mathematics and English language arts. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 324–335. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2017.10.021

4 Ford, D. (2018, February). Creating culturally responsive education to address disproportionality: Seeking equity. Paper presented at the meeting of the Council for Exceptional Children, Tampa, FL.

Understood, National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) (2019)


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