Latest Research News on Learning Disabilities : Feb 2022
This chapter reviews briefly the historical events that have molded the general field of learning disabilities (LDs) into its current form, with a focus on the origins of current policy-based definitions of LDs. LDs by definition refer to deficits in one or more of several domains, including reading disabilities, mathematical disabilities, and disabilities of written expression. Since each type of LD is characterized by distinct definitional and diagnostic issues, as well as issues associated with heterogeneity, each is covered separately in this chapter. Thus, for each LD domain, a review of critical background information, constructs, and research policy trends is provided. More specifically, a review of each major domain of LD is organized to address (1) a review of definitional and diagnostic issues confronting each specific type of disability within the domain; (2) the epidemiology and developmental course of the disability; (3) core processes that have been identified for each disability; (4) a review of the neurobiological mechanisms hypothesized to cause and/or contribute to the specific type of LD, when any have been identified; and (5) intervention research. The chapter concludes with a brief review of issues and a look toward the future.
Learning Disabilities; Educational Principles and Practices
Intended for teachers, educators, and specialists who are interested in the problems of learning disabilities, the text presents principles and practices necessary in the clinical teaching approach to children with learning disabilities. Areas considered include learning disabilities in general, the brain and learning, and special education and learning disabilities. Also treated are nonverbal disorders of learning and disorders of auditory language, reading, written language, and arithmetic. Implications and outlook are discussed. Approximately half of the 74 illustrations are teaching aids and half are examples of children’s drawings or writings which show the effects of various learning disabilities. A reference list cites 186 items.
Mathematics and Learning Disabilities
Between 5% and 8% of school-age children have some form of memory or cognitive deficit that interferes with their ability to learn concepts or procedures in one or more mathematical domains. A review of the arithmetical competencies of these children is provided, along with discussion of underlying memory and cognitive deficits and potential neural correlates. The deficits are discussed in terms of three subtypes of mathematics learning disability and in terms of a more general framework for linking research in mathematical cognition to research in learning disabilities.
The Sociopsychometrics of Learning Disabilities
The Boston University (BU) case illustrates how the psychometrics of ability differences interact with the concept of learning disability and with the sodopolitics of schooling and society. It also illustrates that learning disabilities advocacy will not be on a sound footing as long as the field refuses to rid itself of its IQ fetishism, refuses to jettison its fixation on aptitude-achievement discrepancy, and fails to free clinical practice from the pseudoscientific neurology that plagued the field in the 1970s. A more inclusive definition of learning disability—one that abandons discrepancy notions-and a more self-critical attitude toward its own claims would advance the field of learning disabilities and help to rid it of distractions such as the BU case.
A New Definition of Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction. Even though a learning disability may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (e.g., sensory impairment, mental retardation, social and emotional disturbance) or environmental influences (e.g., cultural differences, insufficient/inappropriate instruction, psychogenic factors), it is not the direct result of those conditions or influences.
 Lyon, G.R., Fletcher, J.M. and Barnes, M.C., 2003. Learning disabilities.
 Johnson, D.J. and Myklebust, H.R., 1967. Learning Disabilities; Educational Principles and Practices.
 Geary, D.C., 2004. Mathematics and learning disabilities. Journal of learning disabilities, 37(1), pp.4-15.
 Stanovich, K.E., 1999. The sociopsychometrics of learning disabilities. Journal of Learning disabilities, 32(4), pp.350-361.
 Hammill, D.D., Leigh, J.E., McNutt, G. and Larsen, S.C., 1987. A new definition of learning disabilities. Journal of learning disabilities, 20(2), pp.109-113.