Dyslexia, Learning, and the Brain (MIT Press)

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  2. Development of Dyslexia: The Delayed Neural Commitment Framework
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  4. Study shows brain scans could help identify dyslexia in children before they start to read - Scope

Lovegrove, W.

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Next Acknowledgements. Print page. A cognitive-level description, however, does not uniquely identify the biological-level problem—damage to one or more of several brain areas can lead to the same cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Because of the interplay between different brain regions, the between-individual differences in brain organization, and the multiple roles each part of each brain region plays, it is difficult to specify precisely the effect even of a clear brain lesion. Unfortunately, with acquired disor- ders typically the result of head injury, stroke, or degeneration damage to several brain regions, and perhaps to the connectivity between regions, is often involved.

Things are even more difficult with developmental disorders attributable typically to abnormal brain development. Fur- thermore, brain development is driven by the experiences it receives, and so all brains are different. In light of these strengths and weaknesses of each level of description, the wisest approach is to attempt to develop a theory that covers all three levels. Note the bidirectionality of the arrows on some of the links between levels figure 1. A further such analysis figure 1.

Clearly this developmental framework is valuable for understanding developmental disorders, diagnosing developmental disorders, and sup- porting children with developmental disorders. It is logically independent of the other frameworks, and we suspect that many researchers have failed to take seriously enough the issue of how the disorder develops.

Introduction 11 1. There are several formal definitions. Developmental dyslexia is a disorder in children who, despite conven- tional classroom experience, fail to attain the language skills of reading, writing, and spelling commensurate with their intellectual abilities World Federation of Neurology, Developmental dyslexia, or specific reading disability, is defined as an unexpected, specific, and persistent failure to acquire efficient reading skills despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity American Psychiatric Association [APA], Developmental dyslexia is a specific language-based disorder of constitu- tional origin, characterized by difficulties in single word decoding, usually reflecting insufficient phonological processing abilities Orton Society, The term learning disability refers to a class of specific disorders.

They are due to cognitive deficits intrinsic to the individual and are often unex- pected in relation to other cognitive abilities.

“Dyslexia, Learning Differently, and Innovation” - Fumiko Hoeft - TEDxSausalito

Such disorders result in per- formance deficits in spite of quality instruction and predict anomalies in the development of adaptive functions having consequences across the life span U. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. These difficulties typically re- sult from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of ef- fective classroom instruction.

Secondary consequences may include prob- lems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge Interna- tional Dyslexia Association [IDA], It is evident that these definitions are, at best, a compromise. The original definition highlights the dis- crepancy between actual reading performance and expected reading per- formance. This distinction is abandoned in the Orton Society definition, which emphasizes the basis in terms of language and phonol- ogy.

The recent USOSEP definition attempts to pin learning disability at the cognitive level rather than brain or symptom level but, like the Orton Society and BPS definitions, it does not explicitly include the concept of discrepancy as a defining characteristic. The IDA definition does rep- resent a reasonable compromise, broadening the deficits to include fluency, and retaining an element of discrepancy.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the definition leaves considerable scope to the interpreter. We shall return at length to the definition of dyslexia and the issue of discrepancy. For the present, we note the one common factor among these definitions, namely, poor reading. Unfortunately, poor reading is a particu- larly unsatisfactory criterion from a theoretical perspective, as we discuss in the following section.

Unlike language, reading is clearly not innately predetermined and indeed, until the Renaissance, hardly anyone could read at all. Fluent reading requires the blending of a large number of components: semantic knowledge, letter knowledge, phonological knowledge, eye control, and so on. It is a miracle that anyone manages to learn to read, and in a sense it is hardly surprising if anyone has difficulty. Finding evidence of pollution in London is only the first step in identifying the source. One needs to trace back the possible sources until one finds the one or more tributaries that carry the pollution, and then trace each tributary back until the point of ingress of pollution is identified.

Indeed, in a sense more information is provided by not finding pollution in London—it indicates that all the tributaries are unpolluted. Similarly, normal acquisition of reading surely indicates that most of the underlying processes are working fine. Introduction 13 In short, poor reading per se tells us little or nothing about the underly- ing cause; it is good for screening but not for understanding. It may well be that problems arise not from an individual skill but in blending different skills. Second, the absence of poor reading does not necessarily indicate ab- sence of dyslexia.

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Development of Dyslexia: The Delayed Neural Commitment Framework

Fortunately, given the appropriate learning environment and enough time, dyslexic children will learn to read adequately. Traditionally, roughly four times as many boys as girls were diagnosed. Relaxing the discrepancy criterion, and allowing for potential gender-based referral bias, leads to considerably higher prevalence estimates of 5 to Given that there are, therefore, around 15 to 50 million dyslexic individuals in the United States and 3 to 10 million in the UK, it seems unlikely that there will be a single underlying cause, convenient though this would be for theorists.

In summary, the study of the cause s of dyslexia is fraught with diffi- culty.

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Diagnostic criteria are based on symptoms rather than causes, and the primary symptom—poor reading—is a learned skill that is not only very dependent upon the learning environment provided but might also reflect any of a large number of possible underlying causes. Applying theory in the real world mercilessly exposes its limitations! Moreover, there was undoubtedly work to do. In practice, this meant that a child had to be over 7 years old be- fore diagnosis.

Study shows brain scans could help identify dyslexia in children before they start to read - Scope

He or she had to fail at reading for the first two, crucial, years of school before support was available. This failure was corrosive and cumulative, scarring psyche and stunting skill.

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This proved to be an outstand- ing learning opportunity for us. We first interviewed 12 acknowledged UK dyslexia experts—theorists and practitioners—as to their views on how this should be done. Based on the rich interview transcripts we devised a ques- tionnaire, which was then circulated to all those in Britain and internation- ally whom we knew to be in the area. This was, and as far as we know still is, the only systematic international survey of this type that has been undertaken.