Dyslexia

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Historically, dyslexia has been explained by three contending perspectives: visual deficit, phonological deficit and cerebellar deficit. Discuss, with reference to Frith (1999), whether these deficit perspectives can be reconciled.

This decisive essay will discuss the three contending perspectives of dyslexia and whether these deficit perspectives can be submissive according to Frith (1999). A definition of dyslexia would be outlined as well as a brief background on the three contending perspectives. Furthermore, Frith (1999) article would be discussed including a detailed explanation of Frith's three levels of framework and the environmental, cognitive and biological aspects of it and also emphasizing the advantages and disadvantages of frith framework. In addition academic literature and journals will be implemented to sustain the understanding of dyslexia and the contending perspectives, thus making it effective visually.

The term dyslexia involves difficulties in learning to read and write. But this is not the only form of difficulty that dyslexic people experience. Dyslexic people usually have difficulties with verbal and visual information. One common example can be learning the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, but this also can affect dyslexic people to learn and remember the names of many objects as well. Usually, dyslexic people have difficulty in learning phonological information in short term memory, any processing of verbal information will be difficult. Mental arithmetic is also another form of difficulty of dyslexia, mathematic can experience difficulties because of the coding that is required often in learning the symbols and functions of mathematics. Also directional confusion is also common in dyslexia; they find it hard to remember and recall left and right.

The term ‘Dyslexia' means much more in society today than two decades ago. Dyslexia was used to describe different outline of acquired dyslexia and been investigated for almost 100 years. There is a historic difference between the term Dyslexia and the ideas that follow it: ‘learning needs' and ‘integration' or the term ‘word blindness' which was used first by Kussmaul (1877) to differentiate the particular type of speech difficulty which is caused by the left side of the brain controlling speech. Frith (1999) states 'The definition and explanation of dyslexia have long been problematic' (p, 192). As a significant term, Dyslexia transpired rather recently in the history of special education. The history of Dyslexia still traces experiences of the ongoing progression into the present decade, on providing an idea of separate ‘special education' for dyslexia pupil in development.

The definition of dyslexia has changing according to the increase of knowledge and understanding over the years of debates on dyslexia. There have been many approaches in defining dyslexia, such as exclusion, discrepancy and identification of positive indicators. Frith (1999) stresses the definition of dyslexia 'Dyslexia can be defined as a neuro-developmental disorder with a biological origin and behavioural signs which extend far beyond problems with written language. At the cognitive level, putative causes of the behavioural signs and symptoms of the condition can be specified' (p, 192).

In the late 1970s, Uta frith changed from primarily visual theory to a phonological theory. Frith has investigated the cognitive phenotype, which is a difficulty in accessing internally characterize structure of words. In the cross-cultural European project, frith demonstrate that the brain basis of dyslexia in French, Italian and English is the same, although the expression of dyslexia in reading and spelling shows difference in the three countries.

Uta Frith (1999) has presented an encouraging framework for thinking about the nature of developmental difficulties. Frith implied that there are three main contending perspectives on any particular developmental condition: a behavioural, cognitive and biological one. And also there are environmental factors that can have a part in the image of these contending perspectives.

Frith's biological and cognitive perspectives propose theoretical description that involves investigational substantiation, where else the behavioural perspectives lean to be less discussed and questioned because the behaviours can be directly experimental and analysed. The cognitive perspectives seem to describe the processes, which sort of explain how the biological and behavioural explanations plan on to each other. For example, if an area of the brain is damaged (biological perspective), the damaged area would be incapable to store new long-term memories (behavioural perspective) because the brain is unable to function the damaged area, and so it is not capable of transmitting new information from short-term to long-term areas (cognitive perspective). Frith's framework highlights the theoretical explanations of dyslexia. Frith's framework echoes the levels to which perspectives in psychology can be seen as rather opposite, differing and parallel. It is suggested that when discussing explanations of ‘abnormal' development, it is immoral to think that biological and cognitive perspectives are challenging with each other or competing. In fact, it can be seen differently as cognitive and biological models can be complementary rather than contradictory.

It is noticed that many description of dyslexia aim to a difficulty with several aspects of memory. This is because people with dyslexia have difficulty with tasks such as mental arithmetic, writing and reading and learning new information, this requires short-term memory processing in the brain. Yet still, these tasks have an additional quality in common, they hold a phonological component. This involves the processing of speech sounds in short term memory. So it is likely to suggest that the deficit in phonological processing may give an account of dyslexia. To be able to understand the impact of why phonological deficit have an effect on writing and reading, it is important to understanding how people with dyslexia naturally learn to read.

It is still know clearly understood whether the phonological deficit is connected to the encoding or retrieval of phonological demonstration in memory. While there may be evidence that phonological processes difficulties in processing information in short-term memory, there is also an assumption that the way the information is corresponded to and stored in long-term memory could also further explicate the poor presentation of people with dyslexia on phonological activities. The phonological deficit it seen as a hypothesis, while it has a superior deal of experimental sustains, it is a theoretical hypothetical suggestion, and something that we don't know definitely exists.

During the 1970s and 1980s visual deficit explanations were left behind; psychologists gradually adopted a phonological deficit model of dyslexia, debating that reading difficulties reflect on the key problems with language processing. Although the phonological deficit explanation is still widely researched and very popular, there has been a reappearance of attention in the idea that there may be a primary visual deficit that could explain difficulties in learning visual-phonological association. It would be misleading to assume either that visual-perceptual and phonological problems must be equally limited, or to believe that all people with specific reading difficulties are similar.

The difference in the ‘clinical' image of dyslexia (at either the behavioural or the cognitive level of Frith's model) does not in fact rule out some common underlying ‘cause' at the biological level. The difficult connection between biology and environment means that the same biological ‘problem' can result in different cognitive and behavioural consequences for different people. It is suggest that people with reading difficulties fall into one of three subtypes, depending on the underlying cause of their problem: phonology group, (slow naming) rate group, double deficit group. Because the most common outline of action recommended for children with reading difficulties focuses on improving phonological awareness, support for different type of cognitive deficit in dyslexia is significant. If visual processing deficits do engage in recreating an imperative task, or if there are rate and double deficit subtypes, then training in phonological understanding alone would be improbable to address all reading difficulties.

It is seen that the cognitive reason ‘explain' various behavioural signs of dyslexia. Nevertheless, yet when engaged together, dyslexia cannot be explained completely, nor its inconsistency among individuals. As Frith implies, cognitive account taken in separation are incomplete; biological explanations should also be considered.

There has also been awareness on turning to the potential task of the cerebellum in dyslexia. Cerebellum is very important for motor coordination and planning but also is now recognised to engage in a vital part in cognitive development, mainly in the ‘rote' learning, for example being able to learning the alphabet and multiplication tables ‘of by heart'.

Referring to frith model, emphasise on the fact that variability at the behavioural or the cognitive level (e.g. phonological or visual problems) needs not to be taken out single primary source at the biological level. It is perfectly likely that microscopic differentiation in brain architecture could have dissimilar effects according to the exact brain areas affected.

‘Environment' is frequently used to refer to only social or non-biological influences. Yet still, it actually also refers to the biological, cognitive and behavioural environments that people might be exposed to. Referring back to Frith's framework, it can be recalled that the environment can be greatly involved in each deficit perspectives. An example of biological environmental influences is a dietary deficiency, such as inadequate use of fatty acids.

It can be said that home environment can influence reading development, yet also school environments also can influence reading development of children with dyslexia. Like for example children are always in the process of being exposed to different methods of reading instructions and it is discussed and questioned that some instructional methods can in fact avoid reading difficulties.

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