psy341 - chapter 11 learning disabilities.doc

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31 Mar 2012

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Chapter 11: Communication and Learning Disorders
Definitions and History
- See lecture notes
- DSM-IV-TR replaces “learning disabilities” with learning disorders and
communication disorders
- “hidden” disorder need to convince others that is legitimate problem
- Can be specific or affect narrow range of ability
- Main characteristic: not performing up to expected level in school
- Symptoms vary
-Communication disordersdifficulties in:
oProducing speech sounds (phonological disorder)
oSpeech fluency (stuttering)
oUsing spoken language to communicate (expressive language disorder)
oUnderstanding what other people say (mixed expressive-receptive language
- late 19th c: Franz Joseph Gall observed brain-injured patients had lost capacity to
express feelings and ideas clearly through speech, but did not suffer intellectual
oone patient couldn’t speech, but could write
oreasoned damage localized to part of brain responsible for speech—started
the characterization of brain areas that control and express language
- these kinds of studies show that people with learning disabilities differed from
people with MR
- 1940s: were academic problems same as measured in general intelligence tests?
Restriction of MR to certain intellectual abilities instead of all?
- 1943: Strauss and Werner – children learn in individual ways, challenging the
concept that learning is a relatively uniform, predictable process in children without
intellectual disabilities
oChildren approach learning in different ways—each style needs to be
recognized and used to full advantage
oEducational methods should be tailored to individual child’s pattern of
strengths and weaknesses
oChildren with learning problems might be helped by teaching methods that
strengthen existing abilities rather than emphasize weak areas
- 1960s: parents and educators implored need for diagnostic category since not MR
- Development of special ed
Language Development
- by first birthday, recognize a few words and can express some needs and emotions
- next two years, language development proceeds at exponential pace
-phonemes – basic sounds that make up language
- auditory map of phonemes develop completely by first birthday; by six-months,
map of English speaker already different from non-English speaker
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o hard to learn second language when you’re older
Phonological Awareness
- development of language one of the best predictors of school
- delays or differences not a definitive sign of intellectual retardation or cognitive
- sometimes comes with superior abilities in other cognitive areas
-phonology – ability to learn and store phonemes as well as rules for combining
sounds into meaningful units or words
ochief reason that most children and adults with communication and learning
disorders have problems in language-based activities
odifficult of language in that sounds are co-articulated—overlapped with one
another (instead of pronounced sound by sound)
- early language problems surface as learning problems when children enter school
otaught to connect spoken and written language
-phonological awareness – broad construct that includes recognition of relationship
that exists between sounds and letters, detection of rhyme and alliteration, and
awareness that sounds can be manipulated within syllables in words
orelated to expressive language development
- deficits in this often results in inability to segment/categorize phonemes, retrieve
names of common objects letters, storing phonological codes in short-term
memory, producing some speech sounds
Communication Disorders
- difficulty producing sounds, using spoken language to communicate, or
understanding what other people say
- DSM-IV-TR subcategories
oexpressive language disorderdeficits in expression despite normal
comprehension of speech
Specific Language Impairment – occurs when child’s language
matures at 12 months behind their chronological age and not
associated with another known disorder
Normal variants in language development make it difficult to predict
whether early communication problems will become major
problems later on
Discrepancy between what child understands and what he/she able
to say
Begin speaking late and progress slowly in their speech
ophonological disorder – problems in articulation or sound production—
rather than word knowledge
trouble controlling rate of speech, or lag behind in learning to
articulate certain sounds
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omixed receptive-expressive disorder – speaking problems coupled with
difficulty in understanding some aspects of speech
hearing normal, but cannot make sense of certain sounds, words, or
may be deficits in auditory processing of sounds, symbols, storage,
recall, and sequencing
- prevalence and course
ocommunication disorders 2x more often identified in boys than girls—more
behavioural problems accompanying language difficulties therefore referred
more often
oby mid- to late-adolescence, 50% outgrow problems, other 50% may show
improvement but still have some degree of impairment until late
ohigher than normal rate of negative behaviours beginning at early age
oinclusion education strategies based on premise that abilities of children
with special needs will improve from associating with normally developing
children spared effects of labelling and special placements
- causes
50-75% of learning disabled children have positive family history
with it
Temporal processing deficits – more in language-based learning
Lack of comprehension and absence of feedback reduces verbal
output interferes with development of articulation skills
Problems in functional connections between brain areas
Reduced left temporal region activity
oear infections
recurrent otitis media (middle ear infection) - hearing loss
ohome environment
parents changed way they spoke to their children, depending on
children’s abilities
unlikely disorder caused by parents unless extreme abuse—rather,
affect pace and range of language development, not specific
- treatment
oexpressive language disorder and similar communication disorders usually
self-correct by age 6 no intervention required
ospecialized preschools—combination of computer- and teacher-assisted
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