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Screening For Neurological Dysfunction In The Specific Learning Difficulty Child

Sally Goddard Blythe, David Hyland

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A developmental questionnaire was given to the parents of 140 children. Seventy of the children had a history of specific learning difficulties which had not responded to normal remedial education. The remaining 70 had no history of specific learning difficulties. The research was undertaken to ascertain whether the developmental questionnaire could be used as a reliable instrument to detect the neuro-developmental delay underlying the specific learning difficulties and preventing remedial intervention from being effective. The results revealed that the screening questionnaire did discriminate between the two populations. At a 98% confidence level, a child with a score of 7 or more belonged to the specific learning difficulty group and a child scoring 2 or less did not. A score of 7 or more is therefore necessary to identify a neuro-developmentally based specific learning difficulty. The two populations were also compared on individual questions to identify which early developmental factors were significant in predicting later learning difficulties when viewed as part of a developmental profile.