Archive for the 'Dysgraphia' Category

Procedural learning theory of dyslexia and dysgraphia

In “Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Procedural Learning and the Cerebellum,” Roderick Nicolson and Angela Fawcett present a fascinating and, to me, strong argument for unifying theoretical views of dyslexia and dysgraphia. To be sure, their analysis is preliminary and basic, but my first read left me feeling as if they’d hit lots of good points. They’ve emphasized impairment of automatic procedural learning in the cerebellum at the level of neural circuits, but in dysgraphia the problems are with motor circuits and in dyslexia they are in the language circuits. In developing their case, they integrate a broad range of neurological and psychological research.

In this review we focus on the developmental disorders of dyslexia (a disorder of reading) and dysgraphia (a disorder of writing), considering their commonalities and differences with a view to reflecting on the theoretical implications. Interest in dysgraphia was stimulated by the distinction between phonological and surface dyslexia (Castles and Coltheart, 1993), which claimed that orthographic problems (spelling) were separable from phonological reading problems. While this distinction has received mixed support ([Snowling et al., 1996] and [Stanovich et al., 1997]) it led to a fruitful analysis not only of the underlying causes of orthographic difficulties, but also to the widespread recognition of developmental difficulties in handwriting control ([Deuel, 1995], [Manis et al., 1996] and Sprenger-Charolles et al., 2000 L. Sprenger-Charolles, P. Cole, P. Lacert and W. Serniclaes, On subtypes of developmental dyslexia: Evidence from processing time and accuracy scores, Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology-Revue Canadienne De Psychologie Experimentale 54 (2000), pp. 87–104. Abstract | Full Text via CrossRef[Sprenger-Charolles et al., 2000]). The result of this theoretical and empirical progress is that there are two usages of the term dysgraphia. One takes dysgraphia to refer to errors of writing that are analogous to errors in reading (e.g., surface, phonological or deep dysgraphia corresponding to surface, phonological and deep dyslexia), the other relating to difficulties in handwriting control. Furthermore, despite these attempts at differentiation, there remains some controversy in the literature as to whether motor difficulties in handwriting should be subsumed under the label dyslexia.
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DLD conference sessions filling

Although registration continues for the Division for Learning Disabilities conference, “Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice,” some of the sessions are reaching their limits and will be closed. As a part of its emphasis on creating workshop settings where participants learn how to implement evidence-based practices, DLD caps the number of participants in sessions.

Linda Siegel has put together a very impressive line-up of presenters and topics. As one can see here, the agenda for the meeting in San Diego 23 & 24 October 2009 is chocked full of good sessions by internationally renowned presenters.

Presenter

Title

David F. Bateman How to Prepare for and Survive a Due Process Hearing
Jenny Sue Flannagan & Lucinda S. Spaulding Best Practices for Inclusive Science Instruction
Steve Graham & Sharlene Kiuhara Writing Problems and Writing Solutions
Paige C. Pullen Phonological Awareness Assessment and Instruction: A Sound Beginning
Karen R. Harris, Karin Sandmel, & Mary Brindle, “The Magna Carta Provided That No Free Man Should be Hanged Twice for the Same Offense”: Self-Regulated Strategy Development for Writing
Charles A. Hughes Two Recent SIM Writing Strategies: The Essay Test-Taking Strategy and the Editing Strategy
Erica Lembke & Todd Busch Using Curriculum-Based Measurement for Data-Based Decision Making within a Response to Intervention System
Maureen W. Lovett Multiple Component Intervention to Improve the Outcomes of Struggling Readers: Remediating Reading Skill Deficits and Misguided Beliefs About Effort and Achievement at the Same Time
Marjorie Montague Improving Mathematical Problem Solving of Middle School Students with LD
Brian Bottge Teaching Mathematics to Adolescents with LD in Rich Problem-Solving Contexts
Rosemary Tannock Understanding and Engaging Children’s Wandering Minds
Karen J. Rooney Adolescent Literacy: Putting Research into Practice to Develop the Literacy Skills of Older Students
Deborah C. Simmons Integrating Vocabulary Strategies into Social Studies Instruction
David Scanlon The ORDER Routine: For Comprehending Content-Area Concepts
José Luis Alvarado & Anne Graves RTI for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners: Supporting Teachers to Implement Tier I and Tier II Literacy Instruction for Older Struggling
Susan P. Miller Building a Strong Numbers and Operations Foundation to Enhance Mathematics Success
Nicole Ofiesh “Got Accommodations?” Implications for Planning Instruction and Transition from Secondary to Postsecondary Settings
Rollanda E. O’Connor Successful Tier 2 Interventions in Reading: Grades K-4
Kimberly Bright & Paul Riccomini I THINK: A Real-Life Problem-solving Strategy for secondary students with Learning Disabilities

Link to the conference page at TeachingLD.org to register.

Sigh–new content

Despite getting virtually no recommendations about future content (3 votes!), I’m starting to post some new content. The new content is, in my obviously biased view (else, why would I post it?), pretty important stuff. It’s about research, practice, knowledge, and all that sort of stuff as it connects to Learning Disabilities. In this page, I discuss big-idea concepts that recur in Learning Disabilities. These are the themes that one sees when one reads a diverse array of literature on the topic of LD.

I recommend it. What’s more, you won’t have to find this post each time you want to refer to the page; it will always be directly accessible under the “special content” link in the top navigation bar.

Handwriting links

I keep meaning to return to the topic of handwriting, but I’ve not had the time. I want to extend the notes I made about correcting reversals, but work on a book about K-8 reading instruction just keeps getting in the way! However, in part as a reminder to me, I’m dropping a link here to a page by Leila from Special Ed and Me about handwriting resources.

Correcting misrepresentations of LD

Liz Ditz, about whose blog we’ve commented previously, posted about misrepresentations of dyslexia 29 August. Ms. Ditz expressed well-founded concern about a San Fransisco journalist who fell for fascile characterizations of dyslexia.

Nanette Asimov, the Chronicle education writer (who otherwise has good chops–she investigated Scientology’s worming its way into the SF school district) made two serious errors in a recent news article on special education:

In 2001, Juleus Chapman was a Fremont 8th-grader with “scotopic sensitivity syndrome” — a condition that makes words seem to swim across the page — and dyslexia, which causes letters to appear in reverse order.

In other words,

  1. She accepted a quack definition. “Scotopic sensitivity syndrome” exists only in the mind of the people who provide an expensive and useless fix
  2. She perpetuated two destructive myths about dyslexia: that it has to do with visual perception, and it has something to do with reversal of letters.

Ms. Ditz has got it right here. Learning Disabilities such as dyslexia are too often characterized in ways that are probably well-intentioned but are simply wrong. Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS), reversals, learning styles, and many other misrepresentations of LD are perpetuated by journalists and even educators. Peggy and I opined about a whole host of them in a recent editorial for TeachingLD.org.

I’m very glad Ms. Ditz devoted time to refuting these misrepresentations. Getting the general public and even some professionals concerned with individuals with LD to a attend to and employ effective practices is complicated by the perpetuation of myths such as SSS (and Irlen lenses, colored overlays, etc.) and strephosymbolia (reversals). I’m sending Ms. Ditz a note of thanks for her work.

Link to Ms. Ditz’s entry aptly entitled “Educating Education Writers,” a self-referential link to our previous post about Ms. Ditz’s blog, a link to our editorial on TLD, and a link to a page developed by some students in my class on characteristics of LD in the mid 1990s.