In Arkansas a specific learning disability (SLD) is defined as
"a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, learning or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage."
This means that in Arkansas, the term “specific learning disability” is just that, specific. The term doesn't include any general conditions that cause a deficiency, and it doesn't include differences caused by environment, socioeconomic background, or culture. This means that students who are simply “behind in school” due to absences, low socioeconomical background, parents who don’t put emphasis on education or whatever other environmental reason are ruled out from having a Specific Learning Disability in the state of Arkansas.
The Louisiana definition for SLD is identical to the Arkansas definition. Word for word the definitions are the same. The reason is simple. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act PL94-142 governs special education in the United States of America and it is a Federal Law by which the states have to abide. IDEA states that “A State must adopt, consistent with 34 CFR 300.309, criteria for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined in 34 CFR 300.8(c)(10).”
(US Dept of Education, 2007)
All states may or may not have different wording in their definitions of Specific Learning Disability, but they all have to conform to the same criteria.