Learning Disabilities Research

Learning disabilities research in all countries show that affected children make up a stable proportion in the basic education of those countries. Learning disabilities research data from overseas reveal that numbers of affected children make up 4 to 6% of all school age children. The proportion of children with one or more than one kind of a particular learning difficulty make up 13% of the total student population. A large number of children with learning disabilities have always existed among school going children, and their various disabilities have affected the quality of education they received.

Learning disabilities research started in the medical professions; for instance, in 1896, Dr Morgan identified the term ‘word blindness’ and outlined the idea of learning difficulties from a medical perspective.

Learning disabilities research among western scholars in the 1950’s had established the causes of learning difficulties in children in cases of organic brain damage, but not in the brain dysfunction syndrome. Learning disabilities research slowly moved away from the medical to the psychological sphere.

Learning disabilities research after the 1960’s moved into the integration phase and focused primarily on neuropsychology and clinical psychology.

Since the 1970’s s, learning disabilities research has been given a strong boost by three bodies:

# U.S. officials established the basic method of determining learning disability among children.

# Dr Jennifer in the University of Southern California established the sensory integration perspective

# Taiwanese scholars established that determining learning disability in children involved the two steps of screening and identification.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, learning disabilities research has been characterized by

- scholars reaching consensus in some of the basic points of view

- the studies went deeper with more interest in classification methods

- theoretical study was dominated by neuropsychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, educational psychology, physiological psychology, psychology of learning and other psychology related disciplines

- learning disabilities research moved from basic theories to the implementation method. Researchers started focusing attention on regular classroom teaching and looked for cures for learning disabilities in the classroom.

Among leading organizations in learning disabilities research, the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities or IARLD was founded by Dr William Cruickshank of the USA and Dr Jacob Valk of the Netherlands. It was established in Canada with the aim of having a forum for exchanging information and advancing knowledge on learning disabilities. It is an international organization with branches in 30 countries around the world, dedicated to conducting research among people with learning disabilities and sharing their knowledge. Its members are made up of distinguished scholars and researchers, clinicians/practitioners, doctoral students and young researchers. IARLD encourages international research in learning disabilities, has initiated a series of Research Monographs on learning disabilities, and maintains in-house publications.

The Academy’s members believe learning disabilities to be primarily connected to neuropsychological and neurophysiological deficits which are inherent in the functioning or malfunctioning of the neurological systems of human organisms. The neurophsiological development of human organism, its malfunctioning leading to perceptual processing defects, and the effect of these factors on the learning process make up the scope of the Academy’s interest in learning disabilities research.

Types of Learning Disabilities