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PSYCH 312 (33)
Chapter 10

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Ernie Mac Kinnon

[ CHAPTER TEN ] MEDICAL ASPECTS OF LEARNING DISABILITIES AND RELATED MILD DISABILITIES THE VALUE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION FOR EDUCATORS  Learning occurs in the brain: - teachers need basic info abt CNS  Physicians are actively involved in treating CWLD and related learning Ds: - (TF) teachers must understand vocab and concepts of medical sciences to understand and interpret medical reports abt their students and to discuss findings w/ physicians and parents  Advances in medical technology affect CWLD and related learning Ds: - medical procedures now save lives of many children who probably would not have survived, but sometimes these trtmts lead to LD  Awareness of current brain research: - knowledge abt brain i↑’g rapidly and promises to further our understanding of LD NEUROSCIENCES AND THE STUDY OF THE BRAIN  Neurosciences – cluster of disciplines tht investigate structure and f’ns of brain and CNS The Brain: Its Structure and Functions Right Brain, Left Brain: Differences in Function  Left: reacts to & ctrl’s lang-related activities (for 90%+ adults, regardless of handedness); words, symbols  Right: nonverbal stimuli; spatial perception, mathematics, music, directional orientation, time sequences Cerebral Dominance  Inefficient f’n’g of either hemisphere reduces total effectiveness of indvdls and affects their acquisition and use of lang  Samuel Orton: strephysymbolia – reversal of letters and words symptomatic of failure to establish cerebral dominance in left hemisphere Lateral Preference  Rel’nshp btwn LD and tendency to use L.S./R.S. of body or preference for L/R hand, foot, eye, or ear  Consistent laterality – tendency to perform all f’ns w/ one side of body  Mixed laterality – tendency to mix right and left preference in useof body Recent Brain Research  Dyslexia – LD tht interferes w/ learning ot read – not matter of intelligence; instead, appears to be related to brain structure and f’n Post-mortem Anatomical Studies  Autopsy studies show strong evidence for difference in brain structure of dyslexic and non-dyslexic  Abnormality found in planum temporal, which lies on sup’ surface of temporal lobe, and is in center of lang ctrl, and this area was smaller and had fewer brain cells than non-dyslexic  Same area in R.H. was larger and contained more cells than found in non-dyslexic Genetic Studies  Family studies: evidence tht it is inherited and appears to have genetic basis Advances with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)  Allows neuroscientists to view regions of human brain as person is reading  Is non-invasive procedure  Is relatively easy procedure for use w/ children  Areas tht work simultaneously while during reading: 1.) Broca’s area: in frontal lobe (left int’ front gyrus); phoneme producer; link letters to sounds and associated w/ ability to say words out loud 2.) Wernicke’s area: in parietal lobe (left parieto-temporal area); word analyzer 3.) automatic detector: in occipital lobe (left occipito-temporal area); integrating learned words and storing and retrieving words  fMRI shows tht even after gaining reading skills, dyslexic indvdls cont’ to have difficulty accessing reading areas at back of brain (automatic detector) and rely more heavily on front of brain (phoneme producer) NEUROPSYCHOLOGY  Neuropsychological exam’n specifically designed to identify subtle/overt neurobeh’al problems tht contribute to child’s difficulty in making academic progress - also analyze L.H. & R.H. of brain THE NEUROLOGICAL EXAMINATION  Conducted by several medical specialists—family practice physician, pediatrician, dv
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