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Prevalence of Specific Learning Disabilities Among Primary School Children in a South Indian City

Abstract

Objective

To measure the prevalence of specific learning disabilities (SpLDs) such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia among primary school children in a South Indian city.

Methods

A cross-sectional multi-staged stratified randomized cluster sampling study was conducted among children aged 8–11 years from third and fourth standard. A six level screening approach that commenced with identification of scholastic backwardness followed by stepwise exclusion of impaired vision and hearing, chronic medical conditions and subnormal intelligence was carried out among these children. In the final step, the remaining children were subjected to specific tests for reading, comprehension, writing and mathematical calculation.

Results

The prevalence of specific learning disabilities was 15.17% in sampled children, whereas 12.5%, 11.2% and 10.5% had dysgraphia, dyslexia and dyscalculia respectively.

Conclusions

This study suggests that the prevalence of SpLDs is at the higher side of previous estimations in India. The study is unique due to its large geographically representative design and identification of the problem using simplified screening approach and tools, which minimizes the number and time of specialist requirement and spares the expensive investigation. This approach and tools are suitable for field situations and resource scarce settings. Based on the authors’ experience, they express the need for more prevalence studies, remedial education and policy interventions to manage SpLDs at main stream educational system to improve the school performance in Indian children.

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Abbreviations

SpLDs:

Specific learning disabilities

IQ:

Intelligence quotient

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support by children and teachers of various schools in conducting this study, inputs from various faculty members of J.N. Medical College, Belgaum including Dr. N.S. Mahantshetti, Head of Department of Pediatrics during the progress review and Mr. Mohammad for support in the field. The authors specially thank Mr. R.S. Hegde, Clinical Psychologist for his contributions in conducting IQ tests and Mrs. Chandana Billur for helping in the procedure. The authors acknowledge the contributions from the faculty members of Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences for providing training and tools.

Contributions

VVM: Conducted the study and drafted the manuscript; VDP: Conceptualized the study, contributed as a principal guide and reviewed the manuscript; NMP: Contributed as a co-guide and reviewed the manuscript; VM: Study design, statistical analysis, and revised the manuscript. All authors have approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

None.

Role of Funding Source

None.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vijayalaxmi V. Mogasale.

Appendix

Appendix

$$ n = \frac{{4pqD}}{{{d^2}}} $$
p:

prevalence of learning disability (15%)

q:

(100-p)

d:

allowable error 20% of p

D:

design factor (2)

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Mogasale, V.V., Patil, V.D., Patil, N.M. et al. Prevalence of Specific Learning Disabilities Among Primary School Children in a South Indian City. Indian J Pediatr 79, 342–347 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-011-0553-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-011-0553-3

Keywords

  • Learning disability
  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Scholastic backwardness