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Author: iSyke .

Learning Disorders: What Hope Does Research Offer?

Sophisticated brain imaging technology is now making it possible to directly observe the brain at work and to detect subtle malfunctions that could never be seen before. Other techniques allow scientists to study the points of contact among brain cells and the ways signals are transmitted from cell to cell. With this array of technology, NIMH is conducting research to identify which parts of the brain are used during certain activities, such as reading. For example, researchers are comparing the brain processes of people with and without dyslexia as they read. Research of this kind may eventually associate portions of the brain with different reading problems. Clinical research also continues to amass data on the causes of learning disorders. NIMH grantees at Yale are examining the brain structures of children with different combinations of learning disabilities. Such research will help identify differences in the nervous system of children with these related disorders. Eventually, scientists will know, for example, whether children who have both dyslexia and an attention disorder will benefit from the same treatment as dyslexic children without an attention disorder. Studies of identical and fraternal twins are also being conducted. Identical twins have the same genetic makeup, while fraternal twins do not. By studying if learning disabilities are more likely to be shared by identical twins than fraternal twins, researchers hope to determine whether these disorders are influenced...

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Learning Disorders: Assistance and Opportunities

What Aid Does the Government Offer? As of 1981, people with learning disabilities came under the protection of laws originally designed to protect the rights of people with mobility handicaps. More recent Federal laws specifically guarantee equal opportunity and raise the level of services to people with disabilities. Once a learning disability is identified, children are guaranteed a free public education specifically designed around their individual needs. Adolescents with disabilities can receive practical assistance and extra training to help make the transition to jobs and independent living. Adults have access to job training and technology that open new doors...

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Learning Disorders: How to Cope

How Do Families Learn To Cope? The effects of learning disabilities can ripple outward from the disabled child or adult to family, friends, and peers at school or work. children with LD often absorb what others thoughtlessly say about them. They may define themselves in light of their disabilities, as “behind,” “slow,” or “different.” Sometimes they don’t know how they’re different, but they know how awful they feel. Their tension or shame can lead them to act out in various ways – from withdrawal to belligerence. Like Wallace, they may get into fights. They may stop trying to learn...

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Learning Disorders: Is Medication Available?

For nearly six decades, many children with attention disorders have benefited from being treated with medication. Three drugs, Ritalin (methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), and Cylert (pemoline), have been used successfully. Although these drugs are stimulants in the same category as “speed” and “diet pills,” they seldom make children “high” or more jittery. Rather, they temporarily improve children’s attention and ability to focus. They also help children control their impulsiveness and other hyperactive behaviors. The effects of medication are most dramatic in children with ADHD. Shortly after taking the medication, they become more able to focus their attention. They become more...

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Learning Disorders: What Are the Education Options?

Although obtaining a diagnosis is important, even more important is creating a plan for getting the right help. Because LD can affect the child and family in so many ways, help may be needed on a variety of fronts: educational, medical, emotional, and practical. In most ways, children with learning disabilities are no different from children without these disabilities. At school, they eat together and share sports, games, and after-school activities. But since children with learning disabilities do have specific learning needs, most public schools provide special programs. Schools typically provide special education programs either in a separate all-day...

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