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Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

Specific Learning Disabilities

Disability-Specific Characteristic Matrix


Directions: Use a variety of resources to find and create lists of the common characteristics of students
with each of these six disabilities.
Academic
Social and/or
Physical
Possible
Characteristics
Behavioral
Characteristics
Strengths
Characteristics
Short attention span, easily upset, anxious,
General coordination
Can have average
unable to concentrate low frustration
poor; awkwardness
or above average
on one task for a
threshold, may
evident in skipping,
intelligence
long time.
exhibit rapid change
climbing, running,
Easily distracted by
from one mood to
walking, jumping,
irrelevant stimuli
another
hopping, etc.
Unable to follow and
understand class
discussion; appears
to be inattentive or
daydreaming

Deficiencies in
reading and math
Lowest grade-point
average of any group
of students with
disabilities.
Highest absenteeism
rate of any group of
students
More than 50% drop
out rate

impulsivity:
uninhibited, acts
without thinking
Hyperactivity,
attentional deficits:
constant motion,
inability to attend to
a specific task for a
required period of time

antisocial, or
externalizing
behaviors
can also show
internalizing behaviors

May have difficulty


differentiating
between right and left;
may exhibit
directional confusion,
mirror-writing,
reversals, inversions
or rotations of letters
and/or numerals
May exhibit difficulty
with fine motor
coordination task
The ability to develop
and maintain
interpersonal
relationships during
childhood and
adolescence is an
important predictor of
present and future
adjustment.

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder


(ADHD)
Communication Disorder
Speech / Language

Academic
Characteristics
is associated with
poor grades, poor
reading and math
standardized test
scores

difficulty following
directions, attending
to a conversation,
pronouncing words,
perceiving what was
said, expressing
oneself, or being
understood because
of a stutter or a
hoarse voice.
Students with
communication
disorders are capable
of high academic
success if they learn
the classroom's
social, language, and
learning patterns.

Behavioral
Characteristics
Often seems
inattentive to details,
makes frequent errors
in school work
Has difficulty
sustaining attention
May seem not to
listen when spoken to
directly
Difficulty with
"following through"/
fails to complete tasks
Has trouble
organizing tasks and
activities
Avoids tasks
requiring sustained
mental effort
Loses things
necessary for tasks
Is easily distracted by
the environment
social interaction (e.g.,
speech style and
context, rules for
linguistic politeness),
social cognition (e.g.,
emotional competence,
understanding
emotions of self and
others), and
pragmatics (e.g.,
communicative
intentions, body
language, eye contact).

Social
Characteristics
Classroom behaviors
of children with
ADHD associated
with being disliked by
peers include being
off-task, disruptive,
help-seeking, defiant,
and unable to exhibit
self-control
bossy, intrusive,
inflexible, controlling,
annoying, explosive,
argumentative, easily
frustrated, inattentive
during organized
sports/games, and
violating the rules of
the game

Strengths
Can be high
functioning,

Behavioral
Characteristics
not able to
concentrate due to the
sensory overload that
may result in
frustration expressed
more violently and
visibly.

While two children


may have the same
diagnoses, they may
have very different
physical and
intellectual
capabilities. Students
with neuromotor
impairments are more
likely to have
additional
impairments if brain
damage is involved.
Many students with
orthopedic
impairments,
however, do not have
learning, language,
perceptual, or sensory
problems

Spastic (very tight


muscles occurring in
one or more muscle
groups that result in
stiff, uncoordinated
movements)
Athetoid
(movements are
contorted, abnormal,
and purposeless)
Ataxic (poor
balance and
equilibrium in
addition to
uncoordinated
voluntary movement)
Mixed (any
combination of the
types)

Other Health Impairments &


Orthopedic Impairments (skeletal & muscular)

High-functioning Autism

Academic
Characteristics
IQ of 85 and above

Social
Characteristics
Autism afflicted
children normally
avoid eye contacts
with adults including
their parents and
would like to retract
to solitude. They also
dislike or indifferent
to affectionate
gestures such as
touching and hugging.
Impairment or total
absence of quality
social skills such as
interaction, etc.

Strengths