Academic journal article Psychology Science

Children at Risk of Dyslexia: Early Identification and Intervention

Academic journal article Psychology Science

Children at Risk of Dyslexia: Early Identification and Intervention

Article excerpt

Summary

The purpose of investigation was to verify the new screening method the Scale of the Risk of Dyslexia (SRD). The investigation was undertaken from 1994 to 1998. The first stage of the examination was realized with a sample of 351 children from class "0" (aged 6). They were examined applying SRD and the methods commonly used by the psychologists. The risk of dyslexia among the pupils from class "0" was estimated at 7,9 %. There is a statistically considerable correlation between SRD results and the findings of other methods examining the visual and motor skills, the phonological awareness and the space orientation were stated.

In the second stage of research the possibility of predicting a child's success in the learning of reading and writing was estimated. The hypothesis to be verified was that the general and the specific indicators of estimation of a child's cognitive and motor functioning in SRD correlate with results in reading and writing. SRD was used to examine the group of 370 children from "0"class. The standard of reading and writing was assessed at the end of class "0", "I" (aged 7), "II" (aged 8) and "III" (aged 9). The general result of SRD from half-year of the "0"class proved to be essential for prediction of the success in reading and writing at the end of classes "0", "I" and "II". The most sensitive indicators were: for reading -"Phonological Skills" and "Visual Skills", for writing - "Phonological Skills", "Language" and "Fine Motor Skills".

Key words: dyslexia, phonological skills, visual skills, motor skills, cognitive development

The term "children in risk of dyslexia": History and use

As it is known, the specific difficulties in reading and writing - developmental dyslexia were first described over a hundred years ago in the UK by neurologists (Morgan, Kerr and Hinshelwood, see Critchley, 1964). At the beginning, the main interest focused on its mechanism, neurological basis and etiology. The next step that came afterwards was searching methods of remediation for children suffering from this kind of disturbances. Hinshelwood, the author of the first two monographs on developmental dyslexia published in 1900 and 1917, recognized, that dyslexia may be neurologically based, but the treatment must be educational. He advocated for one-on-one teaching and multisensory approach (Hinshelwood, 1900, 1917). Within the thirties and forties, the systems of remedial teaching were developed, mainly supported by Orton (1937) and his co-workers, who elaborated methods for dyslexia treatment - Stillman (1928), Fernald (1943), Gillingham and Stillman (1956). Those methods are still used at present (Henry and Brickley, 1999). It was not before the sixties, however, that the problem of early recognition of dyslexia was properly highlighted. First screening methods were created for young school children: in USA Screening Test for the Identification of Children with Specific Language Disability by Slingerland (1962) and in UK Aston Index by Newton (Newton, 1974; Newton & Thompson & Richardson, 1979) and Bangor Dyslexia Test by Miles (Miles, 1982; Miles & Miles 1993). Nevertheless, it took a long time until the researchers' attention was directed to pre-school children in order to diagnose the individuals who are likely to develop dyslexia symptoms and to prevent it. In 1984 de Hirsch stated: "Our present-day knowledge is sufficient to clear the way for the preventive work. We are undoubtedly able to pick out those youngsters in kindergarten who are liable to turn into dyslexic children. Exposing these particular youngsters to a different educational approach would eliminate much of the later-developing frustrations and disabilities." (de Hirsch, 1984, p. 18). How little of this idea was brought into life appeared in 1993, when the European Dyslexia Association conducted a survey on pre-school and school provision for children endangered with reading and writing difficulties in European countries. …

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