Written Expression Disorders
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We have a dedicated site for Germany. A critical review of the literature on written expression disorders of individuals with learning disabilities. The purpose of the book is to shed light on issues concerning definition, assessment and interaction for individuals with writing disorders. The integrated model of written expression offered draws on the work of cognitive psychology, neurolinguistics and sociolinguistics. The model illustrates the interrelationship between cognitive and affective processing networks that influence the selection and use of linguistics and information structures in producing a written text.
Particularly noteworthy aspects of this book are: the emphasis on the role of writing in developing higher mental functions other texts on writing disorders have placed greater emphasis on lower-order aspects ; not only the addition and integration of the sociolinguistic dimension into the model of writing but also the inclusion of guidelines for assessing this dimension; specification of needed research in which both populations and tasks have been carefully defined; and, finally, notice of the importance of a continuum for defining, assessing and treating each component of written expression.
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Dyslexia exists. He was equally adorable, and I had a crush on him. Like me, he left our class several times a week. It was definitely better than being the only ten-year-old forced to squeeze into a first-grade desk. I peeked in on him when I roamed the halls, whether I was on my way to flip through a spelling workbook or sprinting to the bathroom, hall pass squished in my fist, or eventually hurrying to the bus that would grant me sweet freedom at the Gifted school my parents did decide I should attend.
Wherever I was going, I would stop and look in on the SpEd lab. I was fascinated. A bit obsessed. Wishing I was Brian. Wishing someone was helping me. Their brains were just different. I wanted to be like that. I did, of course. Over that same period, however, both the diagnosis and recognition of learning disabilities have changed quite a lot.
When I was a child, my disorder was a unicorn. A figment of the imagination. Or more accurately, it was a like the giant panda, prediscovery. The people running into big, walking, stuffed animals in the Sichuan mountains certainly knew giant pandas were real.
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But everyone else shook their heads in disbelief and told the panda spotters to stop playing games, get to work, and try to live up to their potential. Or something like that. The year I was born, premature, jaundiced, and covered in dark, downy lanugo a furlike fuzz that made my mother think of a spider monkey , Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of Even our greatest supporters found our ailments nebulous.
Everyone else was going to be a very hard sell, and still is. The more nebulous the manifestation of the disorder, the more problems a person has getting covered by the law. Children like Brian have a very specific set of easily agreed-upon symptoms that fit a pattern with a long history of study. My mother took me to get tested a year or two after my meeting with the counselor.
Now, sitting in my car, waiting for the rain to stop pummeling my windshield, I call her to ask about this. She sounds unhappy, guilty maybe.
My mother is a small woman, with fine, wispy blonde hair always pulled into a ponytail. I have terrible timing. The rain has mixed with road grime and turned my windshield into a terrible Rorschach test. I took that test in a simple room in a Miami office building. The woman and I sat across from each other at the sort of table adults have meetings around. I once again felt small. She asked me how I was, some questions about my life, my mood, my general state of being, and then moved on.
I liked that about her, that she could laugh. A place where you would find bats? At one point she asked how many miles there are between New York and California. I had no idea.
This was not the sort of thing covered in my elementary and middle-school classes. Imagining a map, I pinched the air between Miami and Baton Rouge, tried to think of the length of space between the two.
Written Expression Disorders
Whatever number I came up with, my math was off, of course. She had me read a passage to her. There was a spelling test later. She asked me to write a paragraph.
There were puzzles. Other hoops. Learning disabilities were added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM in , and the DSM has fairly drastically changed its definitions of the disorders in subsequent editions. Additionally, Cockler tells us that legal definitions and guidelines for diagnosing the disorders have been mostly separate from clinical definitions and diagnostic guidelines. But this is not the worst of it. Each state has its very own, unique set of guidelines, meaning that symptoms in one state at one point in time may result in a child receiving a diagnosis and mandatory educational support, while the exact same symptoms in another time and place produce nothing for that same child but an end-of-visit lollipop and a pat on the head.
As with real estate, location is everything. I asked my mother if she always knew. Or, maybe, we were still at her house, both of us famished and ready to go, but running our mouths anyway. Her head moving easily. This conversation no big deal. From first grade on, she taught me mnemonic devices and other little tricks that kept me from being held back in school. She never hid from the idea that I needed extra help.
Instead, she turned studying for spelling tests into songs and games. Something better than what the teachers were doing. It sounds stupid, but I had to figure out a better way to teach you.
Something deep in me responding to the familiar, halting tune. Robbins tells me that, while an early version of the disorder I would be diagnosed with in my twenties existed back then, it was not in the childhood disorders section of the manual. The reason I went undiagnosed is simple. At the time, my disorder was undiagnosable, a great panda only my mother and I and others like us could see. On the first day of my college freshman composition class at Southeastern Louisiana University, my teacher, a large woman spilling over a small, three-legged stool, explained that our essays would be written in class.
By hand. Trying to indulge neither the fight nor the flight response her words inspired in me, I stayed after class to talk to her. It was fact. There is neither ridicule nor sympathy.
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She leaves the room. It is my second time attempting to start college, and I tell my boyfriend that I am quitting school again. I am an English major. I will not be able to pass English. I cannot stop crying. Every time he says it, I shake my head, go back to crying. He waits, says it again. We do this for a while. His dogged patience is one reason I later marry him.
Ply, my advisor. She is a tall, tall woman, in bright, flowing, beltless dresses. When we meet, I stoutly refuse to stop crying while I try to explain my predicament. I am a melodramatic mess. It must have been most unpleasant for Dr. Ply, who shows no sign of aggravation.
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It says that this is not a big deal. Anderson has a son with a learning disability. And she likes to use computers. In Dr. Anderson is perhaps not very personable. She seems to like computers more than people. She holds all her classes in the computer lab and every day asks us to email her, our classmates, and members of another freshman class at another, faraway university.