special education learning theories
In 1984, a survey of many of the leaders in our field was commissioned by the Journal of Learning Disabilities to identify the most widespread beliefs and concerns about the learning disabilities field at that time (Adelman & Taylor, 1985). One of the most frequently cited concerns in the survey centered on the need to improve both theory and research on learning disabilities. In response to some of these concerns, I wrote a relatively optimistic paper titled “Learning Disabilities Theory: Its Current State and Future Prospects,” which appeared in JLD in 1986 (Torgesen, 1986). The paper was optimistic because it identified some of the reasons for past difficulties in theory development and showed that at least some of these difficulties (those involving a lack of adequate scientific concepts and methodology to support the study of learning disabilities) were well on the way to being overcome. I remain optimistic about the future of theory development in our field, not only because the supporting scientific methodology has continued to advance, but also because we are moving toward greater clarity in our discussion of issues that have frequently produced theoretical confusion about learning disabilities.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.