Learning disabilities are generally defined as a broad array of conditions and problems that may interfere with a child's ability to function in society. In this regard, Lyon (1996) has noted that the term generally includes children with specific areas of neurological dysfunction (e.g., memory, language, attention, perception or motor problems) but that there are also can be some emotional dysfunction accompanying the conditions.
Noting that approximately five percent of all public school students are identified as having a learning disability, Lyon (1996) points out that an important definitional element of the term is its exclusions: learning disabilities cannot be attributed primarily to mental retardation, emotional disturbance, cultural difference, or disadvantage. Thus, the concept of LD focuses on the notion of a discrepancy between a child's academic achievement and his or her apparent capacity to learn.
In his general discussion of learning disability, Lyon (1996) reports that:
The longer children with disability . . . go without identification and intervention, the more difficult the task of remediation and the lower the rate of success. (p. 54)
The purpose of this paper is to examine a representative sampling of the current literature on early detection of learning disabilities. To this end, the paper examines eight journal articles in the area, summarizing their major findings. The final section of the paper formulates conclusions about early detection based on the reviewed material.
Early Detection of Learning Disabilities: Review of the Research
Perhaps one of the most interesting investigations related to early detection of learning disabilities has been conducted by Livingston, Adam Bracha (1993). In their study, the authors examined for hypothesized season-of-birth effects for dyslexia, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and neurological soft signs in children and adolescents. Methods inc...