Dyslexia - towards diagnosis : the implications of corical laterality for children's reading difficulties

Newton, Margaret (1974). Dyslexia - towards diagnosis : the implications of corical laterality for children's reading difficulties. PHD thesis, Aston University.

Abstract

Dyslexia as a concept is defined and reviewed in a context of psychological, neurological and educational processes. In the present investigation these processes are recognised but emphasis is placed on dyslexia as a phenomenon of a written language system. The type of script system involved in the phenomenon is that of an alphabetic code representing phonological elements of language In script form related to meaning. The nature of this system is viewed In the light of current linguistic and psycholinguistic studies. These studies based as they are on an analysis of underlying written language structures provide a framework for examining the arbitrary and rule-governed system which a young child is expected to acquire. There appear to be fundamental implications for reading, spelling and writing processes; for example an alphabetic system requires recognition of consistent script-phonetic relationships, 'mediated word identification' and in particular uni-directional sensory and motor modes of perceiving. These are critical maturational factors in the young learner. The skills needed by the child for decoding and encoding such a phonemic script are described in a psychological and neuropsychological framework. Evidence for individual differences in these skills is noted and the category of the dyslexic-type learner emerges. Incidence is related to the probabilities of individual differences in lateralisation of brain function not favouring the acquisition of our script system In some cases. Dyslexia is therefore regarded as a primary difficulty consequent upon the incompatibility between:the written language system itself and the intrinsic, developmental skills of an individual's perceptual/motor system. It is recognised that secondary stresses e.g. socio-cultural deprivation, low intellectual potential or emotional trauma can further inhibit the learning process. Symptomology of a dyslexic syndrome is described.. The symptomology is seen by the writer to constitute a clinical entity. a specific category of learning difficulty for which predictive and diagnostic procedure could be devised for classroom use. Consequently an index of relevant test items has been compiled, based upon key clinical experiences and theoretical writings. This instrument knovn as the Aston Index is presented and discussed. The early stages of validation are reported and the proposed longtitudinal studies are described. The aim is to give teachers in the classroom the power and understanding to plan more effectively the earliest stages of teaching and learning; in particular to provide the means of matching the nature of the skill to be acquired with the underlying developmental patterns of each individual learner.

Divisions: Life & Health Sciences > Psychology
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dyslexia,corical laterality,children,reading difficulties
Completed Date: 1974-10

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