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Estimates by the National Institutes of Health of the number of people with learning disorders range from 5%–15% of the general population. About 80% of people
Between 60% and 80% of children diagnosed with reading disorder are boys. For various reasons often related to behavior, boys tend to be referred more frequently to special education classes, which suggests that girls with reading disorder may be underdiagnosed. Some experts think that this disparity comes about because boys are more often disruptive in class.
Reading disorder, like other learning disorders, falls under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Definitions of learning disabilities vary among the states, and some school districts are more willing than others to recognize specific learning disabilities. Any child, however, who has a diagnosed learning disability, including reading disorder or dyslexia, should be eligible for an Individual Education Program (IEP) that provides customized instruction at school designed to address the disability.
Treatment approaches vary from visual stimulation to special dietsto enhanced reading instruction. However, it is generally agreed that customized education is the only successful remedy. The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus have issued a policy statement warning against visual treatments and recommending a cross-disciplinary educational approach.
The first researcher to identify and study dyslexia, Samuel Torrey Orton, developed the core principles of such an approach in the 1920s. The work of three of his followers—teachers Bessie Stillman, Anna Gillingham, and Beth Slingerland—underlies many of the programs in use today, including Project READ, the Wilson Reading System, and programs based on the Herman method. There are many successful programs to address individual reading needs. In general, all good programs are:
Author Info: Tish Davidson A.M., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, 2003
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