There are no vibrant and internationally accepted delineations of learning disabilities, and it has sparked a worldwide deliberation. However, two definitions have gained acceptance over the rest globally. The definitions include the federal definition in IDEA and a definition that was suggested by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) (Ziegler & Goswami, 2011).
IDEA delineates specific learning disabilities as a disorder in one/more psychological processes involved in comprehending or using a language, spoken or written. The disease may surface in an imperfect potential to speak, listen, read, write, spell or calculate mathematical expressions. These disorders include perceptual disabilities, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, brain injury, and mental aphasia.
NJCLD on the other hand delimits learning disabilities as a heterogeneous group of malfunctions exhibited by significant challenges in the acquisition and use of listening, reading, writing, speaking, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and postulated to be because of central system dysfunction, and may materialize across a lifespan (Ziegler & Goswami, 2011).
Children with learning disabilities experience an unforeseen distinction between general ability and achievements. Conferring the Federal definition, three methods are used to identify students with learning disabilities. These criteria include a severe discrepancy between student’s intellectual ability and academic achievement. The second criterion is the exclusion principle. The third approach is the need of education services (Gallagher, Frith & Snowling, 2013).
Prevalence of dyslexia
10%-15% of the U.S.A population has dyslexia, yet at least 5 out of every 100 dyslexics are identified and assisted. According to the NAEP, 38% of all fourth grade students are beneath intrinsic reading skills. Roughly sixty percent of people with attention hyperactivity disorders are equally dyslexic; nevertheless, their language and learning polarity are frequently unidentified since only the deportment facets of ADHD addressed. Without effective treatment and aid, numerous dyslexics and ADHD persons are only functionally illiterate, and constitute a portion of the 40 million adults with inferior level of literacy (Ziegler & Goswami, 2011).
Dyslexia designates an unambiguous knowledge incapacity that is neurobiological in basis. It is categorized by complications with precision or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding prowess. Higher-level language skills in grammar, meaning, and the social use of language are compromised. Secondary consequences include problems in reading, comprehension, and limited experience that can delay maturity in vocabulary and background knowledge (Ziegler & Goswami, 2011).
One of the robust discoveries of research into development psychology over the last four decades is that destitute word reading abilities arise from a particular defect in phonological processing. The processing debt is comprised of a minimum of two elements: deficits in phonological skills and possession of print-to-sound decoding skills. Phonological deficits have been identified to be present before a child absorbs to read and may be gauged by tests of readiness to learn (Ziegler & Goswami, 2011).
A parent who suspects his or her child is dyslexic, should immediately take his child for assessment. An educational psychologist does assessment and the procedure involves testing cognitive abilities as well as literacy skills. The child’s hearing and sight is also tested to ensure no acute problems exist. Some of the assessment methods that can correspondingly be used include standardized intelligence and achievement tests, curriculum based measurements and direct daily measurements. Conclusions are then made based on a combination of the history reported and the performance of the tests (Gallagher et al, 2013).
Causes of Dyslexia
There are still no clear neurobiological courses of Dyslexia. Nevertheless, it has been found that six genes account for the condition; four of the genes have effects on brain formation during early stages. Dyslexia is inheritable and tends to run in families. These inherited characteristics affect parts of brained concerned with language, interfering with the potential of converting written letters and words into speech.
Scientists have correspondingly discovered specific brain difference involved in Dyslexia. Brain scans show that dyslexia accrues from certain structural differences in the brain, especially in the left hemisphere. The left hemisphere plays a crucial role in matching a letter with its sound, understanding grammar and syntax, separate sounds in a word, and handle information into the brain in strings. Hence, underutilization of the left-hemisphere can lead to dyslexia (Gallagher, Frith & Snowling, 2013).
Education and Non-Education Interventions in Dyslexia
Dyslexia has no known cure hence on can live with the condition for a long time. However, various interventions can be implemented to assist people suffering from Dyslexia.Education interventions may include steps teachers can take to accommodate Dyslexic student. That includes giving the students extra time during exams and test or allowing the students to use high-tech tools such as word-prediction software. This intervention has led to improved academic standards without a diagnosis.
Response to intervention (RTI) is another technique employed in schools to assist students who fall behind. The routine screening helps to identify students who require particular skills. The other method that can be used by teachers is informal support. A strategy commonly used by teachers to help their struggling students, these strategies include a multisensory approach to link listening, reading, speaking and writing (Gallagher et al, 2013).
Non-education methods that can be used include therapy. Some of the symptoms commonly related to may be due to vision problems. Vision therapy discourses challenges that accrue from weakness in eye muscles or other problems in the way eyes are used. Adults should also comprehend the cognitive and affective problems faced by dyslexia students and develop strategies that would help the students realize joy and success in academics. Parents should also boost confidence in their dyslexic children to improve their self-esteem and resilience.
Early interventions for dyslexia students have showed increased activity in the occipitotemporal area necessary for automatic, fluent reading. These discoveries show that the use of evidence-based phonologic learning interventions aids the evolution of those fast-paced neural systems that shadows skilled reading (Ziegler & Goswami, 2011). Dyslexia only affects some skills and prowess and is dissimilar to a person's level of intelligence. Dyslexic people are exceptionally creative, intuitive and thrive at three-dimensional in solving problems and hands-on reading. The great gift of dyslexia is Mastery, which leads to academic excellence and higher successful careers.
The research and study around dyslexia have resulted in better understanding of some of the factors that individuals in this group are faced with. Several topics on how factors such as depression, self-image, anxiety, anger, and family problems that affect this group of people. Hence, it has promoted quality research on dyslexia people and the emergence of better intervention methods. Dyslexia has also led to father research on the development of the brain (Gallagher et al, 2013).
Dyslexia is not a disease owing to the fact that as long as it is provided medications on time, it will not heal a person with the condition; neither will it help with dyslexia itself. As an alternative, dyslexia is because of different styles of thinking and learning, and can be best handled through educational counseling and tutoring. Any medication used will only lead to overdependence on the drug. Despondently, many people mistake symptom mitigation for a cure, hence, encourage the use of medications to treat learning problems. Such assumptions encumber students from attaining educational support that they deserve to ensure that they accomplish their objectives in life.
Apps, J. (2010). Pediatric neuropsychology case studies from the exceptional to the commonplace. New York: Springer.
Gallagher A, Frith U, & Snowling MJ. (2013). Precursors of early literacy delay among children at risk for dyslexia. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology. 41: 203-13.
Ziegler JC, & Goswami U. (2011). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: a psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin. 131: 3-2.