Learning Disabilities and School Failure

Division of Developmental Medicine and the Center for Child Development, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA.
Pediatrics in Review (Impact Factor: 0.82). 08/2011; 32(8):315-24. DOI: 10.1542/pir.32-8-315
Source: PubMed


After completing this article, readers should be able to:1. Articulate a systematic medical approach to the child who has school failure or suspected learning disability.2. Compare and contrast learning disability from other related conditions that may affect a child's school function.3. Identify key historic factors recognized during developmental surveillance for children who have learning disabilities.4. List key school and community resources for advising parents about the evaluation,treatment, and prognosis of a child who has a learning disability.5. Outline a medical home management plan for children who have learning disabilities.

Download full-text


Available from: Paul H Lipkin
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Learning disabilities constitute a diverse group of disorders in which children who generally possess at least average intelligence have problems processing information or generating output. Their etiologies are multifactorial and reflect genetic influences and dysfunction of brain systems. Reading disability, or dyslexia, is the most common learning disability. It is a receptive language-based learning disability that is characterized by difficulties with decoding, fluent word recognition, rapid automatic naming, and/or reading-comprehension skills. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonologic component of language that makes it difficult to use the alphabetic code to decode the written word. Early recognition and referral to qualified professionals for evidence-based evaluations and treatments are necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Because dyslexia is a language-based disorder, treatment should be directed at this etiology. Remedial programs should include specific instruction in decoding, fluency training, vocabulary, and comprehension. Most programs include daily intensive individualized instruction that explicitly teaches phonemic awareness and the application of phonics. Vision problems can interfere with the process of reading, but children with dyslexia or related learning disabilities have the same visual function and ocular health as children without such conditions. Currently, there is inadequate scientific evidence to support the view that subtle eye or visual problems cause or increase the severity of learning disabilities. Because they are difficult for the public to understand and for educators to treat, learning disabilities have spawned a wide variety of scientifically unsupported vision-based diagnostic and treatment procedures. Scientific evidence does not support the claims that visual training, muscle exercises, ocular pursuit-and-tracking exercises, behavioral/perceptual vision therapy, "training" glasses, prisms, and colored lenses and filters are effective direct or indirect treatments for learning disabilities. There is no valid evidence that children who participate in vision therapy are more responsive to educational instruction than children who do not participate.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · PEDIATRICS
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper presents evidence of the importance of multidisciplinary assessment of children with learning disabilities. It is suggested that teachers, families, general practitonners and paediatricians may need additional training to participate effectively in this area of school health. Identification of a graduated care pathway, allowing best reeducation at the right time and in the right place is suggested. Between primary diagnosis and expert resources centres, an intermediate level joining availability, skill and proximity should be encouraged and supported by regional health institutions. A need of communication forms to share diagnostic, recommended interventions, and follow-up plans with the school and the family is underlined.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · ANAE - Approche Neuropsychologique des Apprentissages chez l'Enfant
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individuals with developmental learning disabilities and behavioral disorders show structural and functional abnormalities in certain brain areas, and suffer with severe educational and career consequences. Cognitive interventions show only limited success for improvement. In order to alleviate the burden on the affected individual and the society as a whole, we need to target these neural deficits. Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), with its large variety of methods to enhance and decrease cortical excitability, is a promising tool to achieve improvements at both brain and behavioral levels. Here we discuss the current options for stimulation and the biological effects, and how these can be applied in some examples of cognitive and behavioral deficits. We also note the importance of safety guidelines and careful assessment in preclinical studies, as well as in clinical pediatric populations, as the evidence in these cases is currently minimal. Overall, we suggest that tES can have the capacity to redirect atypical brain development and have a positive impact on educational difficulties. Future developments in the optimization of training and stimulation parameters might allow us to remove the neural brakes on learning in a variety of child developmental disorders.
    No preview · Chapter · Dec 2014