What are School-specific Developmental Disorders?
These disorders arise due to violations in the processing of cognitive information, which largely occurs as a result of biological dysfunction. Characteristically, the normal acquisition of skills is impaired from the early stages of development. They are not the result of adverse learning conditions and are not related to brain injury or illness. It is necessary to evaluate not the level of education, but school achievements, taking into account the dynamics of development, since the severity and lag in reading for 1 year at 7 years old has a completely different meaning than for 1 year at 14 years old.
The type of manifestation of the disorder usually changes with age – the delay in speech in preschool years disappears in colloquial speech, but is replaced by a specific delay in reading, which in turn decreases in adolescence, and in youth these are violations of spelling / writing. That is, the condition is equal in all respects, but the dynamics of growing up are taken into account. School skills are not only a function of biological maturation, they must be taught and mastered. Specific violations of school skills cover groups of disorders manifested by a specific and significant deficiency in teaching school skills in a given age group, class, population, and school.
These disorders are not a direct result of other conditions – mental retardation, gross neurological defects, emotional or gnostic disorders. Often combined with hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit, specific disorders of motor functions. It doesn’t mean at all that these are children with a delay in skills, and “will catch up with their peers over time” – such violations are observed in adolescence and in further education. They are associated with the appearance of secondary disorders in the form of a lack of interest in learning, a poor educational program, and emotional disorders.
Diagnosing Specific School Skills Disorders
There should be the most clinically significant degree of violation of a skill:
- the presence of delays or deviations in the development of speech in the preschool period;
- associated problems – inattention or increased activity, emotional disturbances or disturbances in behavior;
- the presence of qualitative violations – a clear difference from the norm;
- inadequate response to therapy (lack of effect with increased care at home and / or school).
The violation is more strictly specific and does not depend on mental retardation or on a general decrease in the intellectual level. Diagnosis of violations is based on psychological and pedagogical testing. Violation should be present from the first years of training, and not acquired during education. Violations should not be due to untreated or uncorrected visual or auditory disorders.
Specific impairments to school skills include:
- specific violation of reading skills “dyslexia”;
- specific violation of writing skills “dysgraphia”;
- specific violation of arithmetic skills “dyscalculia”;
- a mixed disorder of school skills “learning difficulties”.
Treatment of Specific School Skills Disorders
The preferred treatment is corrective training therapy. Emotional reactions are more important than certain teaching methods. An effective neuropsychological correction with an integrative approach to mastering phonetic combinations and the spatial structure of words. Concomitant emotional and behavioral disorders should be treated with appropriate medication and psychotherapeutic methods. A good effect is provided by family counseling.