Identification of Specific Learning Disorders and Specific Language Impairment: Issues and Experience in India
This chapter addresses the problem in identification of the children with Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) who have difficulty in acquisition of skills necessary for age-appropriate scholastic achievement in spite of their average intelligence, adequate opportunity to learn, absence of any history of brain trauma, and sensory impairment. Owing to their average intelligence and otherwise age-appropriate behavior, be it in school or in home, their poor performance is perceived as their lack of volition and the root of the problem is overlooked. Specific Language Impairment (SLI) or Disorder of language acquisition is another condition that overlaps with SLD due to their shared deficit in underlying cognitive processes with an adverse impact on academic performance. Lack of awareness of the community and the teachers about SLD and SLI delays the diagnosis in India. Though SLI is more readily identifiable, it is not timely referred. The problem is further complicated as students here are quite often exposed to English or Hindi or the state official language as their medium of instruction in school, irrespective of their mother tongue. India being multilingual country, experts face problem in developing a common tool for its assessment and identification all over the country. Considering the heterogeneity of the group, the child’s standing on the domains of cognition, language, perceptual-motor, and scholastic skills together can help in understanding this disability condition. Another important issue is the delay in legal recognition of SLD. The new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 promises to provide all the required services to the disabled population but its objective implementation is not very clear. Present chapter takes an attempt with case examples to address the importance of early detection of the SLD and SLI as early certification helps these children to receive all the assistance legally due to them and enables them to pursue their study by overcoming their limitation.
KeywordsSpecific Learning Disorder Specific Language Impairment Cognitive process Early detection Multilingual country
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