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The genetic and environmental origins of learning abilities and disabilities in the early school years - Essay Example

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It is essential to investigate the root causes of language disabilities in primary students to determine whether they are of genetic or environmental origin. These investigations help researchers advise educators on solutions to overcome disabilities and develop in a normal way…
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The genetic and environmental origins of learning abilities and disabilities in the early school years
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Download file to see previous pages Examining each of these factors allows educators to approach learning disabilities from different angles.
There is a connection between speech difficulties and reading difficulties (DeThorne, et al., 2006; Spinath, et al., 2004; Feagans and Appelbaum, 1986). In early elementary years, students sound out words; if they cannot use verbal language well, reading comprehension suffers. Recognition of letter names is an indicator of future reading ability, along with the child’s ability to write his or her name (Share, 1984). Three levels of language use work in young children: syntactic (the general construction of written or verbal language); semantic (the meanings of words and their relationships which arrive at sense from the written or verbal); and discursive (how syntax and semantics go together to form a narrative) (Feagans and Appelbaum, 1986). Narrative is the transmission of information using words and sentences, and may be the most important (and most difficult) item to measure. Identifying children who are not developing normal speech patterns is the first step to seeing a problem with language. Once the child is identified, it is helpful to know if the problem is genetic or if environmental factors are at work.
Researchers look at large populations of similar children and gather information through assessment mechanisms. In the articles examined for this essay, different assessment mechanisms are used by researchers. Share, et al. (1984) point out that assessments are often poorly validated or poorly designed, and the time it takes to administer long questionnaires reduces the size of the population measured. Teacher assessments might seem like a good way to find out about learning disabilities, but teachers possess varying skill levels in recognizing learning problems (Kenny and Chekaluk, 1993). Parent questionnaires must be worded carefully, and can also be highly inaccurate (Share, et al., 1984; DeThorne, et al., 2006). Standardized ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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