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Dyslexia: Causes and Contributors

A discussion of the causes and contributors to dyslexia must be, by necessity, a complex undertaking that deals with a myriad of controversial topics. Even the name breads controversy: what exactly is dyslexia? Is it the same as specific learning difficulties? Can it be defined as a single condition? Is there a continuum of dyslexic type difficulties? Should we be using a label at all? The questions raised are numerous, yet there are very few satisfactory answers. It is therefore necessary to begin with a working definition of dyslexia, to gain an understanding of dyslexia before we discuss it in any detail. After this definition has been made the believed causes (grouped into the following categories: genetic, perceptual, neurological and linguistic) will be looked at in some depth, which will precede a thorough evaluation of the evidence. It will be found that, as yet, no single cause can be definitively established, but that studies into information and language processing in the brain seem to offer the most promising possibilities for the future.
As previously stated, because the term dyslexia covers a wide variety of topics it is almost impossible to find a definition which adequately covers all relevant issues and is able to satisfy all theorists. However a number of attempts have been made; thefirst a good starting point for this discussion, was made by Critchely. He thought that dyslexia is a "disorder of children who, despite conventional classroom experience fail to attain the language skills of reading, writing and spelling commensurate with their abilities". While this was a sound beginning concerns over what "conventional classroom room experience" actually is, and how to prove what level of language skills were needed to be "commensurate with intellectual ability" saw Critchley and Critchley in 1978 revise this to "children with specific learning difficulties are those who in the abs…

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