The International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities (IARLD) is an elected group of premier scientists, educators and clinicians in the field of learning disabilities throughout the world. The Academy was formed in 1976 by Dr. William Cruickshank (United States of America) and Dr. Jacob Valk (The Netherlands), meeting in Canada with the intention of providing a forum for the exchange of information and the advancement of knowledge regarding learning disabilities.

Since its inception, the Academy has realized its mission of being a professional, international, interdisciplinary consortium of scientists. The Academy currently has a membership of nearly 300 distinguished scholars, representing 29 different countries and 30 disciplines.

In its history as an association, IARLD has encouraged international research in the field of learning disabilities, developed a Research Monograph Series in Learning Disabilities, maintained an exclusive in-house publication, International Journal for Research in Learning Disabilities (IJRLD), which is published bi-annually, and has convened international colloquia aimed at concerns in the study of research on learning disabilities. The International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, in its first twenty-five years, has significantly impacted the field of learning disabilities.

Organizational Principles and Objectives

The members of the Academy recognize learning disabilities to be related primarily to neurophysiological and neuropsychological deficits, which in turn are indigenous to the function or malfunction of the neurological and neuropsychological systems of the human organism. The neurophysiological development of the human organism, its maldevelopment resulting in perceptual processing deficits, and the subsequent impact of these factors on learning and adjustment represent the scope of the Academy members’ interests. Members of the Academy believe that research and theory reflecting many points of view are appropriate to the pursuit of this academic society. Its members have adopted leadership roles in developing parameters and focusing on related research on learning disabilities.

The Academy’s specific goals include:

  1. To encourage its membership to engage in active research and writing in the field of learning disabilities;
  2. To share writings, as well as pre-publication ideas with others in the Academy through the exchange of papers, correspondence, books, electronic and other methods of communication;
  3. To encourage and stimulate the international exchange of students in the area of learning disabilities between countries and facilities;
  4. To foster the establishment of a clearinghouse of information in the area of learning disabilities;
  5. To undertake surveys of the development of the field of learning disabilities and bring to the attention of its members and governments those problems on which major attention should be directed;
  6. To provide on an occasional basis, a review of the literature in the several areas of learning disabilities highlighting new developments in the field, stimulating promising research and emphasizing new theoretical concepts;
  7. To publish regularly, a professional journal, newsletter, or other form of professional stimulation in the field;
  8. To engage in contracts with governments, research agencies, publication houses, or with individuals in achieving their professional goals;
  9. To provide a mechanism for the exchange of persons where appropriate; and
  10. To co-sponsor public forums with other appropriate research-oriented organizations.


In 1980, the Academy held its first World Congress in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The next formal Congress was held in 1983 at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium. It was held as an inaugural conference in honor of the opening and dedication of a research institute for learning disabilities in Brussels. A conference of IARLD Members and Fellows was also held in September, 1985, at Lincoln College, Oxford University, England. Since that time a number of other meetings have been held in member countries including Canada, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy,  Lithuania, New Zealand, Slovenia, The Netherlands, and the United States. Two Academy organizational meetings were held in 1978 and consisted of persons from the first 50 invited Fellows. The first meeting was held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, on March 1, 1978, in conjunction with the international meeting of the (USA) ACLD. The second was held on May 7, 1978, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in cooperation with the 75th Anniversary Congress of the Dutch Special Education Association.