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Among all the measures, sentence imitation illustrated the greatest power in discriminating poor and adequate readers (2010).
Another study conducted by Flax, Realpe-Bonilla, Roesler, Choudhury, and Benasich (2010) studied the profiles of children with a family history (FH+) of language-learning impairments (LLI) and a control group of children with no reported family history of LLI (FH-) with the hope of identifying "which language constructs (receptive or expressive) and which ages (2 or 3 years) are related to expressive and receptive language abilities, phonological awareness, and reading abilities at ages 5 and 7 years" (2010). The participants consisted of 99 children (40 FH+ and 59 FH-) -- who received the exact same standardized neuropsychological battery at 2,3,5, and 7 years of age. As a group, the FH+ children had dramatically lower scores on all language measures at 2 and 3 years, on selected language and phonological awareness measures at 5 years, and on phonological awareness and nonword reading at 7 years. Language comprehension at 3 years was the single best predictor of later language and early reading for both groups. "These results support past work suggesting that children with a positive family history of LLI are at a significantly greater risk for future language and reading problems through their preschool and early school-age years" (2010). It also showed that language comprehension in the early years is a strong predictor of future language-learning status (2010).
It may seem obvious that children with LD would have trouble with writing, reading and oral language skills, but children with LD can also have challenges with math. Children with LD, as mentioned, sometimes have difficulty memorizing facts, which can prove troublesome when trying to learn mathematics. There is sometimes a confusion or reversal of numbers, number sequence, or operational symbols. Difficulty reading or comprehending word problems may also exist when it comes to mathematics. Problems with reasoning and abstract concepts can also prove to be quite a challenge for the child with LD.
Dulcan (2009) reports that children with difficulties in both writing and matt may reveal poor visual processing. Visuospatial and visual memory deficits may manifest only as behavioral problems thus it is important that LD educators become familiar with these disorders that can effect communication as well as behavior. Dulcan (2009) notes as well that a math disability can be quite difficult to diagnose as mathematics is a rather broad term with consistent standards.
No core deficits or processes have been identified in the mathematics arena. If a child has trouble in reading, then it follows that certain of the language-based math problems will also be difficult. The prevalence of a math disability is estimated to be 5%-6%. Neurobiological studies reveal different neural systems involved with learning mathematics. These systems are best studied in the brain-injured population, and the correlation with the child with a math LD is not yet available. There is strong evidence for the heritability of math difficulties (Dulcan 2009).
In order for schools to help students with learning disabilities improve their achievement in math, educators and policymakers need to better understand what is behind the difficulties in learning math. The federal government breaks down math difficulties as follows: mathematics calculations -- processes that can be problematic include memory, processing issues in visual memory, and visuospatial problems that make lining up columns and understanding base 10 systems difficult; and, mathematics problem solving -- there are various parts of brain functioning that work in solving a math word problem. Reading, understanding language, finding the salient point, doing multiple steps, and using working memory all are needed to solve a math problem. There are several different avenues for a disability to arise in this area (Dulcan 2009).
Dulcan (2009) also expounds on the possibility of social problems associate with math disabilities. For example, children with LD with weaknesses in visualization may also exhibit socialization problems such as poor social judgment, poor spatial awareness, and troubles on the playground. Many times, children with poor visualization have problems self-soothing or falling asleep. Children that cannot memorize math facts should also be checked for working memory deficits that may impact other areas of learning (2009).
Study skills do not always come easily for children with LD. For example, a child with LD may have trouble organizing and managing his or her time. Following directions an also prove to be difficult for the child with LD. Sometimes children with LD have a hard time organizing his or her notes or other written materials. Children with LD may need more time to complete their requirement assignments as well.
One last note to make about children with LD is that their problems do not always simply relate to academics. Children with LD may potentially have difficulties with social skills as well. For example, some children with LD have problems "reading" facial expressions and body language. They may also have difficulty interpreting subtle messages such as sarcasm or irony. Other children with LD may have a hard time following directions and may have problems concerning spatial orientation (this may include getting lost quite easily). Disorientation in time and a difficulty with telling time is also a potential issue for children with LD.
Mayes and Calhoun (2006) found that LD are common in children with clinical disorders. Mayes and Calhoun's (2006) research sample is comprised of 949 children (6 to 16 years). The findings showed that LD percentages were highest for bipolar disorder (79%), ADHD combined type (71%), autism (67%), ADHD inattentive type (66%) and spina bifida (60%). Children with oppositional-defiant disorder, adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression had relatively low LD percentages (18-19%). LD in written expression was twice as common as LD in reading or math. Other findings illustrated that children with neurogenetic disorders should be assessed for possible LD because of the high potential yield and the need to intervene educationally if learning problems exist (2006).
In a study conducted by Maag and Reid (2010), it was found that students with LD achieve statistically higher scores on measures of depression than their peers without LD. What is not yet known, however, is whether students with LD show greater levels of clinical depression than their peers without LD (2010). The researchers suggest that if they do display greater levels of clinical depression, they special education services must address this area of concern. If depression is not clinical, more studies must be done that address the emotional and social issues related to children who have LD. For example, Baumeister, Storch and Geffken (2008), in their study of the nature and psychosocial correlates of peer victimization, show that peer victimization is "positively correlated with parent reports of withdrawal, anxiety, depressive symptoms, social problems, thought problems, attention problems, and disruptive behavior" (2008).
Sleeter (2010) in an article entitled "Why is there learning disabilities? A critical analysis of the birth of the field in its social context," published in Disability studies quarterly, states that most school structures are fashioned around accepted categories for children. There are categories for first graders, gifted children, 'slow' children, and learning disabled children and they all "presume to designate real commonalities among children, and form bases on which children are grouped and taught" (2010). Many educators, she claims, tend to take for granted the fact that those categories accurately reflect differences among children, and that their use enables children to be taught better (2010). However, she posits that in accepting commonly-used categories for children, it is implied that educators "accept an ideology about what schools are for, what society should be like, and what the 'normal' persona should be like. Far from being objective fact, ideology rests on values and assumptions that cannot be proven, and that serve some people better than others" (2010).
Baumeister, Audrey L., Storch, Eric a., & Geffken, Gary R. (2008). Peer victimization in children with learning disabilities. Child and adolescent social work journal,25(1), 11-23.
Berninger, Virginia W., Abbott, Robert D., Augsburger, Amy. & Garcia, Noelia. (2009).
Comparison of pen and keyboard transcription modes in children with and without learning disabilities. Learning disability quarterly,32(3), 123-141.
Dulcan, Mina K. (2009). Dulcan's textbook of child and adolescent psychiatry. American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.; 1st edition.
Flax, Judy F., Realpe-Bonilla, Teresa., Roesler, Cynthia., Choudhury, Naseem. & Benasich, April. (2010). Using early standardized language measures to predict later language and early reading outcomes in children at high risk for language-
learning impairments. Journal of learning disabilities,42(1), 61-75.
Gortmaker, Valerie J., Daly, Edward J. III., McCurdy, Merilee., Persampieri, Michael J., & Hergenrader, Melanie. (2007). Improving reading outcomes for children with learning disabilities: using brief experimental analysis to develop parent-tutoring interventions. Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis,40(2): 203-221.
Liu, Phil D., McBride-Chang, Catherine., Wong, Anita M-Y., Tardif, Twila., Stokes,
Stephanie F., Fletcher, Paul. & Shu, Hua. (2010). Epilogue to Journal of learning disabilities special edition "Advances in the early detection of reading risk":
future advances in the early detection of reading risk: subgroups, dynamic…[continue]
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