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13 - Analysis of reading disorders from a neuropsychological perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

H. Gerry Taylor
Affiliation:
Professor of Pediatrics Case Western Reserve University
Kurt W. Fischer
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Jane Holmes Bernstein
Affiliation:
The Children's Hospital, Boston
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Affiliation:
University of Southern California
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Summary

Overview: Uncovering the true nature of dyslexia requires more research on the relation between environmental and neurological influences on the development of reading. One factor that complicates diagnosis of core deficits is children's use of compensatory strategies to deal with task demands. To get around this problem, Taylor suggests focusing on basic cognitive abilities, making connections between children's cognitive weaknesses and their possible neurological deficits. For example, he suggests that the child William's difficulties with copying the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure and with sequencing items may stem from problems with executive function and deficits in frontal lobe processing. This approach hones in on deficits and the separation of children's primary neurological problems from the complex effects of environmental influence and individual compensation.

The Editors

The snapshots of behavior and task performance seen in the videotape segments document wide-ranging differences between children with normal learning abilities, such as Jonathan, and students with learning problems. These segments also demonstrate the variability in learning problems and associated cognitive and behavioral traits present within even a small sample of children with reading disabilities. The divide between normal and disabled is by no means unidimensional.

However, children with reading disorders also have characteristics in common. One of our assumptions about the boys with reading disabilities is that they have had chronic and relatively intractable problems in learning to read.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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