LD is too complex to be captured by a single indicator. The solution would be to move beyond the notion of an operational definition as a single statement to include a number of elements that may be defined operationally. Ennis ( 1964) termed these operational interpretations, and they would possess the advantage of permitting a number of concepts to be given meaning by describing their individual operational definitions. The operational interpretations would then need to be organized into an ordered and sequenced hierarchical arrangement that essentially defines what LD is. With this process complete, attention can be directed to writing a formal definition that needs only be a descriptive rendering of the process and elements included.
The procedures outlined are a radical departure from the way LD definitions have been developed in the past. This seems absolutely necessary if any substantive change is to be accomplished. Historically, LD came into the special education scene as a full-blown entity. It almost immediately became a popular designation, but the popularization resulted in an unsubstantiated "conventional wisdom" driving the system rather than reasoned, albeit slower, scientific wisdom. The increased popularity was accompanied by increased vagueness. Under these circumstances, changes were difficult to achieve, and the almost endless semantic wrangling over LD definition attests to this fact. If nothing else, the procedures outlined might breathe some fresh air into an increasingly stale debate.
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