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Concept: Dysgraphia

169

We have developed a pen and writing tablet for use by subjects during fMRI scanning. The pen consists of two jacketed, multi-mode optical fibers routed to the tip of a hollowed-out ball-point pen. The pen has been further modified by addition of a plastic plate to maintain a perpendicular pen-tablet orientation. The tablet is simply a non-metallic frame holding a paper print of continuously varying color gradients. The optical fibers are routed out of the MRI bore to a light-tight box in an adjacent control room. Within the box, light from a high intensity LED is coupled into one of the fibers, while the other fiber abuts a color sensor. Light from the LED exits the pen tip, illuminating a small spot on the tablet, and the resulting reflected light is routed to the color sensor. Given a lookup table of position for each color on the tablet, the coordinates of the pen on the tablet may be displayed and digitized in real-time. While simple and inexpensive, the system achieves sufficient resolution to grade writing tasks testing dysgraphic and dyslexic phenomena.

Concepts: Light, Refraction, Optical fiber, Writing, Dyslexia, Learning disability, Pen, Dysgraphia

4

Developmental dyslexia is a reading disorder, yet deficits also manifest in the magnocellular-dominated dorsal visual system. Uncertainty about whether visual deficits are causal or consequential to reading disability encumbers accurate identification and appropriate treatment of this common learning disability. Using fMRI, we demonstrate in typical readers a relationship between reading ability and activity in area V5/MT during visual motion processing and, as expected, also found lower V5/MT activity for dyslexic children compared to age-matched controls. However, when dyslexics were matched to younger controls on reading ability, no differences emerged, suggesting that weakness in V5/MT may not be causal to dyslexia. To further test for causality, dyslexics underwent a phonological-based reading intervention. Surprisingly, V5/MT activity increased along with intervention-driven reading gains, demonstrating that activity here is mobilized through reading. Our results provide strong evidence that visual magnocellular dysfunction is not causal to dyslexia but may instead be consequential to impoverished reading.

Concepts: Causality, Educational psychology, Disability, Orthography, Dyslexia, Reading, Learning disability, Dysgraphia

0

Specific learning disabilities are disorders that affect the instrumental skills of academic learning, leaving intact the general intellectual functioning. It is possible to distinguish: dyslexia, dysorthography, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. The diagnosis is made according to DSMV. The aim of this study is to evaluate the implementation of Law N° 170 following a diagnosis of specific learning disabilities in children and their evolution over time.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Qualitative research, Dyslexia, Learning disability, Special education, Learning disabilities, Dysgraphia

0

Developmental deficits in the acquisition of writing skills (developmental dysgraphias) are common and have significant consequences, yet these deficits have received relatively little attention from researchers. We offer a framework for studying developmental dysgraphias (including both spelling and handwriting deficits), arguing that research should be grounded in theories describing normal cognitive writing mechanisms and the acquisition of these mechanisms. We survey the current state of knowledge concerning developmental dysgraphia, discussing potential proximal and distal causes. One conclusion emerging from this discussion is that developmental writing deficits are diverse in their manifestations and causes. We suggest an agenda for research on developmental dysgraphia, and suggest that pursuing this agenda may contribute not only to a better understanding of developmental writing impairment, but also to a better understanding of normal writing mechanisms and their acquisition. Finally, we provide a brief introduction to the subsequent articles in this special issue on developmental dysgraphia.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Cognition, Research, Learning, Knowledge, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia

0

Writing ability requires to use and control several processes of visual and phonological information processing and an adequate programming and coordination of motor sequences. We studied a writing precursor gesture in children with Developmental Dysorthography and/or Developmental Dysgraphia in order to point out anomalies to be treated with specific rehabilitative interventions.

Concepts: Phonology, Child, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dysorthographia

0

In Study 1, children in grades 4 to 9 (N= 88, 29 females and 59 males) with persisting reading and/or writing disabilities, despite considerable prior specialized instruction in and out of school, were given an evidence-based comprehensive assessment battery at the university while parents completed questionnaires regarding past and current history of language learning and other difficulties. Profiles (patterns) of normed measures for different levels of oral and written language used to categorize participants into diagnostic groups for dysgraphia (impaired subword handwriting) (n=26), dyslexia (impaired word spelling and reading) (n=38), or oral and written language learning disability OWL LD (impaired oral and written syntax comprehension and expression) (n=13) or control oral and written language learners (OWLs) without SLDs (n=11) were consistent withreported history. Impairments in working memory components supporting language learning were also examined. In Study 2, right handed children from Study 1 who did not wear braces (controls, n=9, dysgraphia, n= 14; dyslexia, n=17, OWL LD, n=5) completed an fMRI functional connectivity brain imaging study in which they performed a word-specific spelling judgment task, which is related to both word reading and spelling, and may be impaired in dysgraphia, dyslexia, and OWL LD for different reasons. fMRI functional connectivity from 4 seed points in brain locations involved in written word processing to other brain regions also differentiated dysgraphia, dyslexia, and OWL LD; both specific regions to which connected and overall number of functional connections differed. Thus, results provide converging neurological and behavioral evidence, for dysgraphia, dyslexia, and OWL LD being different, diagnosable specific learning disabilities (SLDs) for persisting written language problems during middle childhood and early adolescence. Translation of the research findings into practice at policy and administrative levels and at local school levels is discussed.

Concepts: Educational psychology, Language, Disability, Dyslexia, Reading, Learning disability, Special education, Dysgraphia

0

Dyslexia is the most common form of specific learning difficulty affecting approximately 6% of the general UK population and believed to affect approximately 2% of UK medical students. The impact of dyslexia on early practice has not been studied.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Dyslexia, Reading, Learning disability, Special education, Learning disabilities, Dysgraphia

0

Dysgraphia of sufficient severity to interfere with the school work has been recognized as representing a distinct deficit; characterization of its movement problem is a necessary step toward offering improved intervention. From among children aged 6-8, 69 children with dysgraphic characteristics (study group) and 69 matched proficient hand-writers (control group) were recruited into this study. Four copying tests of differing complexity levels were administered using a digital tablet. The acquired data included direct measure (axial pen tip force) and derived parameters (stroke velocity, pause time, number of velocity peaks and ratio of In Air to On Paper measures). The major finding is that children with dysgraphic characteristics had increased pause time per stroke and an increased number of directional changes in velocity. Significant differences were also found between students in two different grades, especially in the control group. The parameters extracted and observed in this study can further differentiate and characterize the handwriting problems originating from fine motor deficits.

Concepts: Scientific control, Scientific method, Problem solving, Problem, Necessary and sufficient condition, Deficit, Tax, Dysgraphia

0

The present study examined the link between brain hemisphericity and dyslexia in secondary school students, using the Preference Test (PT), a widely used self-report index of preferred hemisphere thinking styles. The hypothesis was that differences would be revealed between the dyslexic group and their peers in hemispheric preference. A total of 45 secondary school students who were diagnosed with dyslexia and attended regular public schools formed the learning disabled group. A comparison group was formed of pupils who attended the same classes (N=90), and these were matched for age and sex with dyslexics (1 dyslexic: 2 control). The results revealed that significantly more dyslexic pupils displayed a preference for a right hemisphere thinking style compared to their peers who adopted a left hemisphere thinking style. This finding is in line with the suggestion of the greater right hemisphere involvement in the expression of developmental dyslexia.

Concepts: Educational psychology, High school, Secondary education, Child development, Dyslexia, Reading, Learning disability, Dysgraphia

0

Pediatricians play an important role in the diagnosis and therapy of children with dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia. These syndromes strongly affect children’s school performance. Children with dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia show a significant underachievement in reading, writing or counting and their failure to meet the school requirements undermines their self confidence and positive self-concept. As a result, children with learning problems often become aggressive, frustrated or play the clown in the classroom. According to the Hungarian law children with any learning difficulties have the right to get special education by their specific symptoms. In the realisation of the law and equity the pediatrician’s expertise is essential and has an important role in the therapeutical procedures. However, the pediatrician’s role is more complex than writing an opinion. Pediatricians can help by giving a detailed description about these syndromes and explain them how they can help their child, what are the main difficulties during the child’s studies, what kind of therapies can be efficient and how they can make their child’s school years easier. During the assessment most of the parents ask the following questions: What does dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia exactly mean? Is it a handicap or a learning difficulty? Could the child live a normal life? With the proper answer and with an inclusive attitude pediatricians can help both the parents and the children to create a liveable lifestyle and make their children’s schoolwork more successful. The authors' opinions are to close the medical and the pedagogical view, because without the cooperation of these two scientific fields, the theme affected parents, children and teachers cannot get proper help to find better solution and support for their problems. In the survey the authors intend to give a complex view about the symptoms of these syndromes and try to give useful advice for pediatricians how they can support their patients emphasizing the key role of pediatricians and clinical expertises in the early recognition and therapy. Orv. Hetil., 2013, 154, 209-218.

Concepts: Medicine, Physician, Educational psychology, Dyslexia, Learning disability, Special education, Learning disabilities, Dysgraphia