Janelle Keller

Definition Learning Disability

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Before my school gets started with Bookshare, I wanted to be clear on what is a qualifying learning disability?

A few examples for clarity: a student with a specific disability in basic reading, a student with a specific disability in reading comprehension, a student with a general learning disability (that would include reading)?  Thank you in advance.  

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We do not require that you identify the specific diagnosis of a student in order to add them to an Organizational Account for a school. If a Competent Authority determines that a student's learning disability interferes with their ability to read standard print books, they can have them added to the account under the general disability type "LD."

Under recently revised copyright law, an “eligible person” is one who: “is blind,” or “has a visual impairment or perceptual or reading disability” rendering them unable to read printed works “to substantially the same degree as a person without an impairment or disability,” or “is otherwise unable, through physical disability, to hold or manipulate a book or to focus or move the eyes to the extent that would be normally acceptable for reading,” 

Since Bookshare staff are not trained to assess and certify print disabilities—and many certifications rely on personal knowledge of the individual's situation—we must rely on the expertise of Competent Authorities to determine Bookshare eligibility. 

A Competent Authority is a person with a medical or special education background that is familiar with the disability, has access to the member’s medical records and can determine with confidence that the individual meets the eligibility requirements of copyright law. Common Competent Authorities include medical professionals, special education teachers, or psychologists. 

For more examples of Competent Authorities please visit https://www.bookshare.org/cms/bookshare-me/who-qualifies/qualifications

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