Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 15

Learning Disabilities Related Abstracts

15 Poor Cognitive Flexibility as Suggested Basis for Learning Difficulties among Children with Moderate-INTO-Severe Asthma: Evidence from WCSTPerformance

Authors: Haitham Taha


The cognitive flexibility of 27 asthmatic children with learning difficulties was tested by using the Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST) and compared to the performances of 30 non-asthmatic children who have persistence learning difficulties also. The results revealed that the asthmatic group had poor performance through all the WCST psychometric parameters and especially the preservative errors one. The results were discussed in light of the postulation that poor executive functions and specifically poor cognitive flexibility are in the basis of the learning difficulties of asthmatic children with learning difficulties. Neurophysiologic framework was suggested for explaining the etiology of poor executive functions and cognitive flexibility among children with moderate into severe asthma.

Keywords: Asthma, Learning Disabilities, Cognitive Flexibility, Executive Functions, WCST

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14 Effectiveness of Using Phonemic Awareness Based Activities in Improving Decoding Skills of Third Grade Students Referred for Reading Disabilities in Oman

Authors: Mahmoud Mohamed Emam


In Oman the number of students referred for reading disabilities is on the rise. Schools serve these students by placement in the so-called learning disabilities unit. Recently the author led a strategic project to train teachers on the use of curriculum based measurement to identify students with reading disabilities in Oman. Additional the project involved training teachers to use phonemic awareness based activities to improve reading skills of those students. Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words. We know that a student's skill in phonemic awareness is a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty. Using multiple baseline design across four participants the current studies investigated the effectiveness of using phonemic awareness based activities to improve decoding skills of third grade students referred for reading disabilities in Oman. During treatment students received phonemic awareness based activities that were designed to fulfill the idiosyncratic characteristics of Arabic language phonology as well as orthography. Results indicated that the phonemic awareness based activities were effective in substantially increasing the number of correctly decoded word for all four participants. Maintenance of strategy effects was evident for the weeks following the termination of intervention for the four students. In addition, the effects of intervention generalized to decoding novel words for all four participants.

Keywords: Learning Disabilities, oman, phonemic awareness, third graders

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13 Spelling Errors in Persian Children with Developmental Dyslexia

Authors: Mohammad Haghighi, Amineh Akhondi, Leila Jahangard, Mohammad Ahmadpanah, Masoud Ansari


Background: According to the recent estimation, approximately 4%-12% percent of Iranians have difficulty in learning to read and spell possibly as a result of developmental dyslexia. The study was planned to investigate spelling error patterns among Persian children with developmental dyslexia and compare that with the errors exhibited by control groups Participants: 90 students participated in this study. 30 students from Grade level five, diagnosed as dyslexics by professionals, 30 normal 5th Grade readers and 30 younger normal readers. There were 15 boys and 15 girls in each of the groups. Qualitative and quantitative methods for analysis of errors were used. Results and conclusion: results of this study indicate similar spelling error profiles among dyslexics and the reading level matched groups, and these profiles were different from age-matched group. However, performances of dyslexic group and reading level matched group were different and inconsistent in some cases.

Keywords: Processing, Learning Disabilities, Persian, spelling, error types, developmental dyslexia, writing system

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12 Teacher Education and the Impact of Higher Education Foreign Language Requirements on Students with Learning Disabilities

Authors: Joao Carlos Koch Junior, Risa Takashima


Learning disabilities have been extensively and increasingly studied in recent times. In spite of this, there is arguably a scarce number of studies addressing a key issue, which is the impact of foreign-language requirements on students with learning disabilities in higher education, and the lack of training or awareness of teachers regarding language learning disabilities. This study is an attempt to address this issue. An extensive review of the literature in multiple fields will be summarised. This, paired with a case-analysis of a university adopting a more inclusive approach towards special-needs students in its foreign-language programme, this presentation aims to establish a link between different studies and propose a number of suggestions to make language classrooms more inclusive.

Keywords: Higher Education, Language teacher education, Foreign Language Teaching, Learning Disabilities

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11 Testing Supportive Feedback Strategies in Second/Foreign Language Vocabulary Acquisition between Typically Developing Children and Children with Learning Disabilities

Authors: Panagiota A. Kotsoni, George S. Ypsilandis


Learning an L2 is a demanding process for all students and in particular for those with learning disabilities (LD) who demonstrate an inability to catch up with their classmates’ progress in a given period of time. This area of study, i.e. examining children with learning disabilities in L2 has not (yet) attracted the growing interest that is registered in L1 and thus remains comparatively neglected. It is this scientific field that this study wishes to contribute to. The longitudinal purpose of this study is to locate effective Supportive Feedback Strategies (SFS) and add to the quality of learning in second language vocabulary in both typically developing (TD) and LD children. Specifically, this study aims at investigating and comparing the performance of TD with LD children on two different types of SFSs related to vocabulary short and long-term retention. In this study two different SFSs have been examined to a total of ten (10) unknown vocabulary items. Both strategies provided morphosyntactic clarifications upon new contextualized vocabulary items. The traditional SFS (direct) provided the information only in one hypertext page with a selection on the relevant item. The experimental SFS (engaging) provided the exact same split information in three successive hypertext pages in the form of a hybrid dialogue asking from the subjects to move on to the next page by selecting the relevant link. It was hypothesized that this way the subjects would engage in their own learning process by actively asking for more information which would further lead to their better retention. The participants were fifty-two (52) foreign language learners (33 TD and 19 LD) aged from 9 to 12, attending an English language school at the level of A1 (CEFR). The design of the study followed a typical pre-post-post test procedure after an hour and after a week. The results indicated statistically significant group differences with TD children performing significantly better than the LD group in both short and long-term memory measurements and in both SFSs. As regards the effectiveness of one SFS over another the initial hypothesis was not supported by the evidence as the traditional SFS was more effective compared to the experimental one in both TD and LD children. This difference proved to be statistically significant only in the long-term memory measurement and only in the TD group. It may be concluded that the human brain seems to adapt to different SFS although it shows a small preference when information is provided in a direct manner.

Keywords: Memory, Learning Disabilities, second/foreign language acquisition, supportive feedback

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10 Mobile Technology Use by People with Learning Disabilities: A Qualitative Study

Authors: Peter Williams


Mobile digital technology, in the form of smart phones, tablets, laptops and their accompanying functionality/apps etc., is becoming ever more used by people with Learning Disabilities (LD) - for entertainment, to communicate and socialize, and enjoy self-expression. Despite this, there has been very little research into the experiences of such technology by this cohort, it’s role in articulating personal identity and self-advocacy and the barriers encountered in negotiating technology in everyday life. The proposed talk describes research funded by the British Academy addressing these issues. It aims to explore: i) the experiences of people with LD in using mobile technology in their everyday lives – the benefits, in terms of entertainment, self-expression and socialising, and possible greater autonomy; and the barriers, such as accessibility or usability issues, privacy or vulnerability concerns etc. ii) how the technology, and in particular the software/apps and interfaces, can be improved to enable the greater access to entertainment, information, communication and other benefits it can offer. It is also hoped that results will inform parents, carers and other supporters regarding how they can use the technology with their charges. Rather than the project simply following the standard research procedure of gathering and analysing ‘data’ to which individual ‘research subjects’ have no access, people with Learning Disabilities (and their supporters) will help co-produce an accessible, annotated and hyperlinked living e-archive of their experiences. Involving people with LD as informants, contributors and, in effect, co-researchers will facilitate digital inclusion and empowerment. The project is working with approximately 80 adults of all ages who have ‘mild’ learning disabilities (people who are able to read basic texts and write simple sentences). A variety of methods is being used. Small groups of participants have engaged in simple discussions or storytelling about some aspect of technology (such as ‘when my phone saved me’ or ‘my digital photos’ etc.). Some individuals have been ‘interviewed’ at a PC, laptop or with a mobile device etc., and asked to demonstrate their usage and interests. Social media users have shown their Facebook pages, Pinterest uploads or other material – giving them an additional focus they have used to discuss their ‘digital’ lives. During these sessions, participants have recorded (or employed the researcher to record) their observations on to the e-archive. Parents, carers and other supporters are also being interviewed to explore their experiences of using mobile technology with the cohort, including any difficulties they have observed their charges having. The archive is supplemented with these observations. The presentation will outline the methods described above, highlighting some of the special considerations required when working inclusively with people with LD. It will describe some of the preliminary findings and demonstrate the e-archive with a commentary on the pages shown.

Keywords: Technology, Methods, Learning Disabilities, inclusive research

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9 Study on the Focus of Attention of Special Education Students in Primary School

Authors: Tung-Kuang Wu, Hsing-Pei Hsieh, Ying-Ru Meng


Special Education in Taiwan has been facing difficulties including shortage of teachers and lack in resources. Some students need to receive special education are thus not identified or admitted. Fortunately, information technologies can be applied to relieve some of the difficulties. For example, on-line multimedia courseware can be used to assist the learning of special education students and take pretty much workload from special education teachers. However, there may exist cognitive variations between students in special or regular educations, which suggests the design of online courseware requires different considerations. This study aims to investigate the difference in focus of attention (FOA) between special and regular education students of primary school in viewing the computer screen. The study is essential as it helps courseware developers in determining where to put learning elements that matter the most on the right position of screen. It may also assist special education specialists to better understand the subtle differences among various subtypes of learning disabilities. This study involves 76 special education students (among them, 39 are students with mental retardation, MR, and 37 are students with learning disabilities, LDs) and 42 regular education students. The participants were asked to view a computer screen showing a picture partitioned into 3 × 3 areas with each area filled with text or icon. The subjects were then instructed to mark on the prior given paper sheets, which are also partitioned into 3 × 3 grids, the areas corresponding to the pictures on the computer screen that they first set their eyes on. The data are then collected and analyzed. Major findings are listed: 1. In both text and icon scenario, significant differences exist in the first preferred FOA between special and regular education students. The first FOA for the former is mainly on area 1 (upper left area, 53.8% / 51.3% for MR / LDs students in text scenario; and 53.8% / 56.8% for MR / LDs students in icons scenario), while the latter on area 5 (middle area, 50.0% and 57.1% in text and icons scenarios). 2. The second most preferred area in text scenario for students with MR and LDs are area 2 (upper-middle, 20.5%) and 5 (middle area, 24.3%). In icons scenario, the results are similar, but lesser in percentage. 3. Students with LDs that show similar preference (either in text or icons scenarios) in FOA to regular education students tend to be of some specific sub-type of learning disabilities. For instance, students with LDs that chose area 5 (middle area, either in text or icon scenario) as their FOA are mostly ones that have reading or writing disability. Also, three (out of 13) subjects in this category, after going through the rediagnosis process, were excluded from being learning disabilities. In summary, the findings suggest when designing multimedia courseware for students with MR and LDs, the essential learning elements should be placed on area 1, 2 and 5. In addition, FOV preference may also potentially be used as an indicator for diagnosing students with LDs.

Keywords: Special Education, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, focus of attention, on-line multimedia courseware

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8 Neuropsychology of Dyslexia and Rehabilitation Approaches: A Research Study Applied to School Aged Children with Reading Disorders in Greece

Authors: Rozi Laskaraki, Argyris Karapetsas, Aikaterini Karapetsa


This paper is focused on the efficacy of a rehabilitation program based on musical activities, implied to a group of school-aged dyslexic children. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of auditory training including musical exercises in children with developmental dyslexia (DD). Participants and Methods: 45 third-, and fourth-grade students with DD and a matched control group (n=45) were involved in this study. In the beginning, students participated in a clinical assessment, including both electrophysiological (i.e., event related potentials (ERPs) esp.P300 waveform) and neuropsychological tests, being conducted in Laboratory of Neuropsychology, at University of Thessaly, in Volos, Greece. Initial assessment’s results confirmed statistically significant lower performance for children with DD, compared to that of the typical readers. After clinical assessment, a subgroup of children with dyslexia was submitted to a music auditory training program, conducted in 45-minute training sessions, once a week, for twenty weeks. The program included structured and digitized musical activities involving pitch, rhythm, melody and tempo perception and discrimination as well as auditory sequencing. After the intervention period, children underwent a new recording of ERPs. Results: The electrophysiological results revealed that children had similar P300 latency values to that of the controls, after the remediation program; thus children overcame their deficits. Conclusion: The outcomes of the current study suggest that ERPs is a valid clinical tool in neuropsychological assessment settings and dyslexia can be ameliorated through music auditory training.

Keywords: Music, Rehabilitation, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, event related potentials

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7 Modeling Engagement with Multimodal Multisensor Data: The Continuous Performance Test as an Objective Tool to Track Flow

Authors: Mohammad H. Taheri, David J. Brown, Nasser Sherkat


Engagement is one of the most important factors in determining successful outcomes and deep learning in students. Existing approaches to detect student engagement involve periodic human observations that are subject to inter-rater reliability. Our solution uses real-time multimodal multisensor data labeled by objective performance outcomes to infer the engagement of students. The study involves four students with a combined diagnosis of cerebral palsy and a learning disability who took part in a 3-month trial over 59 sessions. Multimodal multisensor data were collected while they participated in a continuous performance test. Eye gaze, electroencephalogram, body pose, and interaction data were used to create a model of student engagement through objective labeling from the continuous performance test outcomes. In order to achieve this, a type of continuous performance test is introduced, the Seek-X type. Nine features were extracted including high-level handpicked compound features. Using leave-one-out cross-validation, a series of different machine learning approaches were evaluated. Overall, the random forest classification approach achieved the best classification results. Using random forest, 93.3% classification for engagement and 42.9% accuracy for disengagement were achieved. We compared these results to outcomes from different models: AdaBoost, decision tree, k-Nearest Neighbor, naïve Bayes, neural network, and support vector machine. We showed that using a multisensor approach achieved higher accuracy than using features from any reduced set of sensors. We found that using high-level handpicked features can improve the classification accuracy in every sensor mode. Our approach is robust to both sensor fallout and occlusions. The single most important sensor feature to the classification of engagement and distraction was shown to be eye gaze. It has been shown that we can accurately predict the level of engagement of students with learning disabilities in a real-time approach that is not subject to inter-rater reliability, human observation or reliant on a single mode of sensor input. This will help teachers design interventions for a heterogeneous group of students, where teachers cannot possibly attend to each of their individual needs. Our approach can be used to identify those with the greatest learning challenges so that all students are supported to reach their full potential.

Keywords: Machine Learning, Interaction, Student Engagement, Engagement, HCI, Multimodal, Learning Disabilities, Flow, multisensor, affective computing in education, affect detection, continuous performance test, physiological sensors

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6 Evaluation of the Effect of Learning Disabilities and Accommodations on the Prediction of the Exam Performance: Ordinal Decision-Tree Algorithm

Authors: G. Singer, M. Golan


Providing students with learning disabilities (LD) with extra time to grant them equal access to the exam is a necessary but insufficient condition to compensate for their LD; there should also be a clear indication that the additional time was actually used. For example, if students with LD use more time than students without LD and yet receive lower grades, this may indicate that a different accommodation is required. If they achieve higher grades but use the same amount of time, then the effectiveness of the accommodation has not been demonstrated. The main goal of this study is to evaluate the effect of including parameters related to LD and extended exam time, along with other commonly-used characteristics (e.g., student background and ability measures such as high-school grades), on the ability of ordinal decision-tree algorithms to predict exam performance. We use naturally-occurring data collected from hundreds of undergraduate engineering students. The sub-goals are i) to examine the improvement in prediction accuracy when the indicator of exam performance includes 'actual time used' in addition to the conventional indicator (exam grade) employed in most research; ii) to explore the effectiveness of extended exam time on exam performance for different courses and for LD students with different profiles (i.e., sets of characteristics). This is achieved by using the patterns (i.e., subgroups) generated by the algorithms to identify pairs of subgroups that differ in just one characteristic (e.g., course or type of LD) but have different outcomes in terms of exam performance (grade and time used). Since grade and time used to exhibit an ordering form, we propose a method based on ordinal decision-trees, which applies a weighted information-gain ratio (WIGR) measure for selecting the classifying attributes. Unlike other known ordinal algorithms, our method does not assume monotonicity in the data. The proposed WIGR is an extension of an information-theoretic measure, in the sense that it adjusts to the case of an ordinal target and takes into account the error severity between two different target classes. Specifically, we use ordinal C4.5, random-forest, and AdaBoost algorithms, as well as an ensemble technique composed of ordinal and non-ordinal classifiers. Firstly, we find that the inclusion of LD and extended exam-time parameters improves prediction of exam performance (compared to specifications of the algorithms that do not include these variables). Secondly, when the indicator of exam performance includes 'actual time used' together with grade (as opposed to grade only), the prediction accuracy improves. Thirdly, our subgroup analyses show clear differences in the effect of extended exam time on exam performance among different courses and different student profiles. From a methodological perspective, we find that the ordinal decision-tree based algorithms outperform their conventional, non-ordinal counterparts. Further, we demonstrate that the ensemble-based approach leverages the strengths of each type of classifier (ordinal and non-ordinal) and yields better performance than each classifier individually.

Keywords: Learning Disabilities, Ensemble Learning, actual exam time usage, ordinal classification, time extension

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5 The Effectiveness of an Artistic Program Using Paper Mash for Acquiring Some Artistic Skills to Children with Learning Difficulties in Egypt

Authors: Ayat Mohammed, Ahmed Mousa


The study aims to identify the extent of the effectiveness of the artistic formation program using some types of pastes to reduce the hyperactivity of the kindergarten child. The research sample included 120 children. The researchers depended on applying a group of artistic formation program using pulp melding skills for kindergarten children with learning disabilities. The tools of the study, designed by the researcher, included: recording card used for recording the effective program using pulp molding skills for kindergarten children. The results proved the effectiveness of the program using pulp molding skills for kindergarten children with learning disabilities.

Keywords: Children, Learning Disabilities, kindergarten, artistic program, developing skills

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4 Computerized Cognitive Training and Psychological Resiliency among Adolescents with Learning Disabilities

Authors: Verd Shomrom, Gilat Trabelsi


The goal of the study was to examine the effects of Computerized Cognitive Training (CCT) with and without cognitive mediation on Executive Function (EF) (planning and self- regulation) and on psychological resiliency among adolescents with Attention Deficits Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) with or without Learning Disabilities (LD). Adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and / or Learning Disabilities have multidimensional impairments that result from neurological damage. This work explored the possibility of influencing cognitive aspects in the field of Executive Functions (specifically: patterns of planning and self-regulation) among adolescents with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder and / or Learning Disabilities who study for a 10-12 grades. 46 adolescents with ADHD and/or with LD were randomly applied to experimental and control groups. All the participants were tested (BRC- research version, Resiliency quaternaries) before and after the intervention: mediated/ non-mediated Computerized Cognitive Training (MINDRI). The results indicated significant effects of cognitive modification in the experimental group, between pre and post Phases, in comparison to control group, especially in self- regulation (BRC- research version, Resiliency quaternaries), and on process analysis of Computerized Cognitive Training (MINDRI). The main conclusion was that even short- term mediation synchronized with CCT could greatly enhance the performance of executive functions demands. Theoretical implications for the positive effects of MLE in combination with CCT indicate the ability for cognitive change. The practical implication is the awareness and understanding of efficient intervention processes to enhance EF, learning awareness, resiliency and self-esteem of adolescents in their academic and daily routine.

Keywords: Learning Disabilities, mediated learning experience, executive function, attention deficits hyperactive disorder, computerized cognitive training

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3 The Interactions among Motivation, Persistence, and Learning Abilities as They Relate to Academic Outcomes in Children

Authors: Rachelle M. Johnson, Jenna E. Finch


Motivation, persistence, and learning disability status are all associated with academic performance, but to the author's knowledge, little research has been done on how these variables interact with one another and how that interaction looks different within children with and without learning disabilities. The present study's goal was to examine the role motivation and persistence play in the academic success of children with learning disabilities and how these variables interact. Measurements were made using surveys and direct cognitive assessments on each child. Analyses were run on student's scores in motivation, persistence, and ability to learn compared to other fifth grade students. In this study, learning ability was intended as a proxy for learning disabilities (LDs). This study included a nationally representative sample of over 8,000 fifth-grade children from across the United States. Multiple interactions were found among these variables of motivation, persistence, and motivation as they relate to academic achievement. The major finding of the study was the significant role motivation played in academic achievement. This study shows the importance of measuring the within-group. One key finding was that motivation was associated with academic success and was moderated by the other variables. The interaction results were different for math and reading outcomes, suggesting that reading and math success are different and should be addressed differently. This study shows the importance of measuring the within-group differences in levels of motivation to better understand the academic success of children with and without learning disabilities. This study's findings call for further investigation into motivation and the possible need for motivational intervention for students, especially those with learning disabilities

Keywords: Academic Achievement, Motivation, Learning Disabilities, persistence

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2 Auditory Brainstem Response in Wave VI for the Detection of Learning Disabilities

Authors: Maria Isabel Garcia-Planas, Maria Victoria Garcia-Camba


The use of brain stem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) is a common way to study the auditory function of people, a way to learn the functionality of a part of the brain neuronal groups that intervene in the learning process by studying the behaviour of wave VI. The latest advances in neuroscience have revealed the existence of different brain activity in the learning process that can be highlighted through the use of innocuous, low-cost, and easy-access techniques such as, among others, the BAEP that can help us to detect early possible neurodevelopmental difficulties for their subsequent assessment and cure. To date and to the authors' best knowledge, only the latency data obtained, observing the first to V waves and mainly in the left ear, were taken into account. This work shows that it is essential to take into account both ears; with these latest data, it has been possible had diagnosed more precise some cases than with the previous data had been diagnosed as 'normal' despite showing signs of some alteration that motivated the new consultation to the specialist.

Keywords: Ear, Learning Disabilities, Neurodevelopment, auditory evoked potentials, intervals of normality

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1 A Qualitative Study About a Former Professional Baseball Player with Dyslexia

Authors: Matthias Grunke


In this qualitative study, we interviewed a young man with learning disabilities who played professional baseball for two years. Individuals with severe academic challenges constitute one of the most vulnerable groups of our society. Science has to find ways on how to arm them against life’s challenges and help them to cope with the many risk factors that they are usually confronted with. Team sports like baseball seem to be a suitable means for that purpose. In the interview, our participant talked about his life as a student with severe learning difficulties and related how his career in baseball made his academic challenges appear much less significant. He gave some meaningful insights into what helped him to build a happy and fulfilling life for himself, not only in spite of his challenges but also because of what he's learning disabilities taught him. Support from significant others, a sense of purpose, his fighting spirit ignited by sports, and the success that he experienced on the baseball field were among the most relevant factors. Overall, this study highlights the importance of finding an outlet for young people with learning disabilities where their academic difficulties retreat into the background and their talents are validated.

Keywords: Inclusion, Resilience, baseball, Learning Disabilities

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