Learning in Childhood

Editor(s): International Committee of Paediatricians Annales Nestlé Vol.59 / 3,  2001
  • The Pathophysiology of Learning Disabilities

    Author(s): H. Whitney, M.K. Georgieff

    The central developmental task of middle child-hood is to learn as much as possible about the world and one's place in it. Children absorb vast quantities of information during these years, gleaned from a variety of sources including their families, their peers, the greater community and their own independent exploration. Among the more formal settings for facilitating many children's learning is the school classroom. Here, children have an opportunity to devote their full attention to mastering those basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic necessary to continue learning across a lifetime. For some children, mastering these basic skills may require extraordinary effort. Approximately 5% of the children in public schools in the United States (US) are identified as having some type of learning disability [1]. Since this behaviour is the efferent expression of brain activity, it is presumed that these learning disabilities are related to some form of neuroanatomic, neurophysiologic or neurochemical pathophysiology. However, it is not yet well understood how the brains of children with learning disabilities differ from those of other children or how such differences may be related to observed differences in behaviour.

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