Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

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JIM CURRAN
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Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by JIM CURRAN » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:00 pm

Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia and language impairment


A new study of the genetic origins of dyslexia and other learning disabilities could allow for earlier diagnoses and more successful interventions, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine. Many students now are not diagnosed until high school, at which point treatments are less effective.

http://www.healthcanal.com/genetics-bir ... rment.html

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maizie
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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by maizie » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:04 am

Don't get too excited, Jim. Dorothy Bishop has words to say about this 'study'

http://deevybee.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/ ... se-of.html

In fact, she is pretty sceptical in general about overhyping of apparent genetic 'indicators' to conditions.

chew8
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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by chew8 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:31 am

Interesting - thanks, maizie.

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:15 am

Thanks Maizie, after a lifetime of teaching I’m naturally cautious about easy solutions but from my own experience inside and outside the classroom I have come to believe that there is a neurological basis for some of the learning disabilities that I encounter daily.

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by kenm » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:06 am

JIM CURRAN wrote:Thanks Maizie, after a lifetime of teaching I’m naturally cautious about easy solutions but from my own experience inside and outside the classroom I have come to believe that there is a neurological basis for some of the learning disabilities that I encounter daily.
There seems to be quite a lot of evidence, from twin studies and other fairly robust research, to support that view. However, neither of these contributions illuminate the question to a useful extent, in part because they start off with dubious assumptions. Both the Healthcanal report and Dorothy Bishop seem to take as given that dyslexia is a distinctive condition, though neither clarify their understanding of the term; I strongly suspect that it is merely an arbitrary range within the spectrum of literary competence. Moreover, the Yale study is very limited in its scope, since it is comparing measured performance with the presence or absence of variants of rather few genes and gene regulators. The weakness of this approach is that there must be many other genes or regulators that influence the development of language capabilities, some of them in a highly non-linear manner.

Genetic control of development is a huge problem and understanding it will require large research programmes. Over the next decade or so we can expect computation to continue to get cheaper, with two effects: total genome sequencing will become cheap enough to be undertaken on each of the subjects of a study; and regression analysis on larger numbers of variables will also become affordable. When the human genome project started, it was expected to take 10 years, of which the first five were to be used to develop the methods that would be used subsequently. Fortunately, computation and genome sequencing are both being improved for many other purposes, so language development can piggyback on them.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by chew8 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:31 am

kenm wrote:Both the Healthcanal report and Dorothy Bishop seem to take as given that dyslexia is a distinctive condition, though neither clarify their understanding of the term; I strongly suspect that it is merely an arbitrary range within the spectrum of literary competence.

I feel very much as you do, kenm.

I taught English for 5 years in secondary schools in South Africa at a time when good phonics teaching was routine in primary schools, though it wasn’t nearly as elaborate as some people now think necessary. I never encountered a child whom I’d have regarded as ‘dyslexic’ by today’s standards. I’ve also tested reading for the past 4 or 5 years at one primary school which teaches excellent phonics, and again I haven’t encountered any children who looked ‘dyslexic’, though there has been an obvious range of ability from children with reading ages a year above chronological age on the Holborn test to children with reading ages 4 or more years above CA.

It was only when I started teaching in England in 1978 that I started encountering children who had serious reading and spelling problems – e.g. 16-year-olds whose spelling showed little ability to write down letters which plausibly represented the sounds in words. This particular group formed quite a small percentage of the whole, but most of the rest had spelling problems which showed a lack of word-specific or morphological knowledge.

On the basis of my experience, I believe that good basic phonics teaching in the first 2 or 3 years of school is the best way of preventing the problems now usually regarded as characterising ‘dyslexia’.

Jenny C.

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:46 pm

I would agree with you Jenny that good initial teaching will solve most of the problems associated with Dyslexia but I feel and my own experience reinforces this belief that there are a small number of children who will struggle , even with good initial teaching.

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by JIM CURRAN » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:36 am

Not all reading disabilities are dyslexia

Dyslexia, a reading disorder in which a child confuses letters and struggles with sounding out words, has been the focus of much reading research.

But that’s not the case with the lesser known disorder Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits or S-RCD, in which a child reads successfully but does not sufficiently comprehend the meaning of the words, according to lead investigator Laurie Cutting, Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair at Peabody.

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/06/read ... -dyslexia/

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by chew8 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:47 am

Jim wrote:I would agree with you Jenny that good initial teaching will solve most of the problems associated with Dyslexia but I feel and my own experience reinforces this belief that there are a small number of children who will struggle , even with good initial teaching.
I’m not denying that some children struggle much more than others, Jim. I’m just saying that their difficulties need not be of the nature and severity that is currently associated with ‘dyslexia’.

As I’ve mentioned before, I ran the Schonell Graded Word Spelling Test B with whole cohorts of 16-year-old college entrants in Surrey (300-400+ students per year) from 1984 to 1999. I also ran the same test with several hundred South African 16-year-olds in comprehensive schools in 1987 and 1992. The lowest marks in S.A. were about 3 times as high as the lowest marks in Surrey, and no S.A. student produced any seriously bizarre spellings, whereas the weakest Surrey students did produce such spellings. In 1987, for example, the S.A. student with the lowest mark (20 out of 70) spelt ‘exaggerate’ as ‘exagerate’, whereas the weakest Surrey student spelt it as ‘erchert’. The S.A. student was at a school for relatively non-academic children – the next two weakest at that school got scores of 24 and 25 and spelt ‘exaggerate’ as ‘exsagerate’ and ‘exadurate’, whereas the next two weakest Surrey students got scores of 9 and 12 – one spelt ‘exaggerate’ as ‘eggerte’ and the other didn’t attempt it.


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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:58 am

Jenny - that information speaks volumes.

It also shows that when it comes to spelling tests, it isn't just the 'raw score' that counts but the nature of the errors.

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by kenm » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:09 am

JIM CURRAN wrote:Not all reading disabilities are dyslexia

... the lesser known disorder Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits or S-RCD, in which a child reads successfully but does not sufficiently comprehend the meaning of the words,...
That sounds as though it should be associated with related problems in speech and the understanding of spoken language. However, the link quotes Laura Cutting:

"But 3 to 10 percent of those children don’t understand most of what they’re reading. By the time the problem is recognized, often closer to third or fourth grade, the disorder is disrupting their learning process.”

If it is a problem with vocabulary or syntax, it should be identifiable in spoken language, and the question arises why it should take so long to notice it. Is there any evidence that children with good spoken language skills can have S-CRD? If not, then the name is misleading.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

chew8
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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by chew8 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:16 am

Debbie:

From the time I started teaching in England (1978) it was the nature as well as the number of spelling errors that bothered me. This is one reason why I always stress the need to move on from purely code-based teaching to morphology. The weakest of my Surrey students certainly showed serious phonic weaknesses, but the majority usually spelt in a phonically plausible way - they seemed to have worked out how to do this in spite of having been taught by whole-word/whole-language approaches at primary school. Their weaknesses were more to do with morphology - e.g. many spelt 'equipped' as 'equipt'.

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by kenm » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:50 am

chew8 wrote:Their weaknesses were more to do with morphology - e.g. many spelt 'equipped' as 'equipt'.
Scott (in Guy Mannering, 1815) wrote:equipt in a habit which mingled the national dress of the Scottish common people with something of an Eastern costume.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

chew8
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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by chew8 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:18 am

So if you had been marking the Schonell test, kenm, would you have counted 'equipt' as correct?

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Re: Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia

Post by kenm » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:14 am

chew8 wrote:So if you had been marking the Schonell test, kenm, would you have counted 'equipt' as correct?
No, but I would have been wrong, according to the OED. OTOH, I suppose there must be a limit to how far back before we can justify our spellings by referring to those of a literary giant. I'm not about to use "ancle" (Jane Austen) without quotes.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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