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Dyslexia in American Public Schools - Research Paper Example

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Dyslexia in American Public Schools One learning disability gaining varied research (Kirby et al., 2008; Nugent, 2008; Glazzard, 2010; Hornstra et al., 2010; Ness & Southall, 2010) interest today is dyslexia. This, perhaps, is due to the many misunderstandings and confusions about dyslexia (Hudson, High & Al Otaiba, 2007, p…
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Download file to see previous pages 1). Furthermore since in our educational system successful learning requires reading ability, being dyslexic would consequently be of great disadvantage, that the need for early diagnosis and intervention of dyslexia is argued to save dyslexic children from experiencing failure (Bentham, 2002, p. 72; Wadlington & Wadlington, 2005, p. 16; GB Parliament, 2006, p. 395), which studies (Turkington & Harris, 2006, p. 126; Carson-Knight, 2007, p. 37) show may cause them undue social and emotional problems. Understanding Dyslexia History Most probably, dyslexia had been present since early human civilizations, but was unnoticed because the system of writing then is pictographic (proto-writing) unlike today, which is alphabet-based (letters), with the Latin alphabet the dominant writing system worldwide (Fischer, 2001, p. 7). Then, as societies have become literate, the abilities to read, write and count have become essential. Hence it was only then that dyslexia has begun to raise serious concerns and studies. (Riddick, 1996, p. 8) How dyslexia has gained much attention in the educational field, specifically in the US, will be presented here in three stages: 1) The Origin, 2) The Move to the US, and 3) The Current Theories of Dyslexia. The Origin (17th - 18th centuries). The origin of dyslexia can be understood following the historical accounts on the learning disabilities field (Hallahan & Mock, 2003, pp. 16-29; Wong, Graham, Hoskyn & Berman, 2008, pp. 1-3), which can be traced back to the 17th century in Europe from the works of European doctors and researchers on the relationship of brain injury and speech disorders – Franz Joseph Gall (1809) and John Baptiste Bouillaud’s (1820) localization of brain functions, Pierre Paul Broca’s (1861) nonfluent aphasia, and Carl Wernicke’s (1874) “sensory aphasia” (Hallahan & Mock, 2003, p. 17). Findings of these studies have shown indisputably that the brain is divided into specific areas with each area tasked with specific kinds of mental/cognitive functions. Hence, it had been believed that brain damage to specific brain area would mean impairment on the given function of that area (Wong, et al., 2008, p. 2). Consequently, this had inspired studies on reading disorders leading to the discovery of reading disability and was named differently – ‘word-blindness’ by the German physician, Adolph Kussmaul (1877), “dyslexia” by the German ophthalmologist, Rudolf Berlin (1884) (Hallahan & Mock, 2003, p. 18), “alexia” by Charcot (1887), “alexia or dyslexia” by Bateman (1890) (Guardiola, 2001, p. 6), ‘pure word blindness’ by the Swiss-born neurologist Joseph Dejerine (1892) (Heim & Benasich, 2006, p. 271), ‘word-blindness and visual memory’ by James Hinshelwood (1895) (Ott, 1997, p. 6). From this, succeeding research studies on more specific areas of reading disability ensued –William Pringle Morgan’s (1896) first case study on congenital word-blindness and Sir Cyril Hinshelwood’s (1896-1917) first systematic clinical studies of reading disorders essentially validating Broca & Wernicke’s areas (Wong, et al., 2008, p. 2). Thus the first theories of dyslexia had taken their form, which observably had focused on the causes of dyslexia being attributed either to defects on the structure of the brain or to deficits on the functions of the brain (Guardiola, 2001, p. 9). The Move to America (19th-20th century). The research ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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