Psycholinguistics & Neurolinguistics

Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills

Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills

Specific developmental disorders of school skills (SRSHD) are disorders in the formation of reading, writing, and counting skills associated with difficulties in processing cognitive information. Learning problems against the background of oligophrenia, mental retardation, severe pathology or trauma to the central nervous system are excluded. Disorders are manifested by an increasing delay in the development of the ability to count, perform arithmetic operations, read, translate oral speech into writing and vice versa, express your thoughts in writing. Diagnostics involves a clinical examination by a psychiatrist, neuropsychological tests, pathopsychological tests. Treatment is carried out by methods of neuropsychological correction, correction by training. Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills

General information

The formation of school skills is determined by the quality of teaching, speed and ease of learning. In any educational system in groups of children of the same age, there is a variation in the rate of development. In some schoolchildren, a deficiency is noted in specific skills at a normal level of general intellectual development. The distinctive features of the SRRS are specificity and a significant lag in the acquisition of educational skills in comparison with the rest of the children of this age group. There are epidemiological data on dyslexia : the prevalence of reading impairment among schoolchildren is 4-10%, more common among boys. There is no exact information about other types of disorders, and no sexual predisposition has been identified.

Reasons for SRRSHN

There is no consensus on the causes of the disorder. There are several groups of etiological factors:

  • Light organic lesions of the central nervous system. Damage to the brain substance, confirmed by electroencephalography , computed tomography are considered as factors that complicate the perception and processing of information.
  • Decreased cognitive ability. Difficulties in the formation of educational skills can be caused by an intellectual decrease in the pre-border level: insufficient ability to analyze, generalize information, a deficit in vocabulary, visual memory.
  • Hereditary burden. It was found that SRSRS are more often diagnosed in children whose parents and grandparents had learning difficulties.
  • Psychological and pedagogical neglect . The deficit in the development of school skills is formed a second time on the basis of insufficient functions of active attention, disorganization.
  • Social neglect. Considered as a risk factor. Unfavorable living conditions, poor nutrition in childhood increase the likelihood of SSSRN.
  • The language barrier. Problems in mastering reading, rewriting, expressive writing, retelling, counting arise in schoolchildren who are not studying in their native language.


The physiological substrate for specific developmental disorders of schooling skills is dysfunction of certain parts of the cerebral cortex. As a result, the perception and processing of cognitive (cognitive) information becomes difficult. Violations of speech, writing, reading can be associated with the movement of linguistic lateralization to the hemisphere less differentiated in relation to this function. Secondary disorders are provoked by postnatal organic lesions of the left hemisphere, the area of ​​the corpus callosum (the transmission of visual information from the right hemisphere to the left is blocked). Violations of counting are associated with program failure, loss of elements – characteristic signs of dysfunction of the anterior sections of the left hemisphere.

In the case of SPSS, the acquisition of skills is difficult from the early stages of a child’s development, and is not associated with extreme external and internal factors. As you get older, the type of disorder changes. In preschoolers, speech development delay , difficulties in processing auditory information are determined . At school age, these problems are leveled, a specific reading lag comes to the fore. In adolescence and adolescence, spelling and writing disorders are determined.


Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills are classified by clinical presentation. Depending on the dominant violation, there are:

  • DyslexiaReading disorder is manifested by a lack of recognition of letters, inability to correlate their graphic display with sound
  • Disgraphia . Violation of writing is referred to as spelling disorder. Manifested by the difficulty of encoding sounds into a graphic symbol. The child does not master the style, the writing of letters.
  • Dyscalculia . Violation of the counting skill is manifested by the inability to count in forward and backward order, to perform arithmetic operations.
  • Mixed disorder. Various combinations of dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia are revealed.

Symptoms of the SRRSHN

With dyslexia, it is difficult to recognize words, understand sentences. Children have difficulty distinguishing between individual letters, they cannot always determine the beginning and end of a sentence. The memorization of the names of letters and corresponding sounds is impaired. When reading, the child rearranges the letters in a word, words in a sentence. Spelling words are difficult to reproduce. Gradually, the reading is formed, but it does not have intonation. The voiced text remains unclear, and it is impossible to operate on the information received.

Spelling disorder most often manifests itself as a writing disorder. Children are not able to pronounce words by syllables, write without mistakes. Determined by violations of the alternation of letters, difficulties in dividing a word into a prefix, suffix, ending. Reading skill, reading comprehension is normal. There are difficulties in expressing thoughts, constructing a monologue. Written and oral speech with a large number of grammatical and semantic errors, but phonetically developed normally. Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills

In case of violation of the counting, difficulties in mastering arithmetic operations, forward and backward counting are determined. The child does not remember well the sequence of arithmetic operations, does not understand verbal and visual symbols. The spatial organization of calculations is disturbed, it is difficult to arrange the numbers in order. Auditory, verbal abilities are preserved, but it is very difficult to remember the multiplication table, simple formulas. Difficulties in understanding numerical categories (tens, hundreds, thousands), fractions, ratios “more”, “less”, “equal” with the use of numbers are found.


Specific developmental disorders of school skills in the absence of timely correction are complicated by secondary emotional and behavioral abnormalities. Children are aware of their inability, try to avoid situations where the use of reading, counting or writing is required. They react anxiously to the remarks of adults, they are afraid of ridicule from their peers. Severe cases are characterized by pronounced aggressiveness, violations of moral norms, rules of behavior. Absenteeism and poor performance in all subjects become attendant problems. Alienation, despair are manifested by depressive disorders, antisocial actions.


Diagnosis of specific developmental disorders of school skills is carried out on the basis of psychological and pedagogical testing. A child psychiatrist is responsible for determining the diagnostic criteria . A comprehensive examination of the child includes:

  • Consultation with a psychiatrist . The doctor conducts a conversation, clarifying the clinical picture. The criteria of the SRRS are: delay, deviation in the development of speech in preschool age; inattention, hyperactivity, emotional and behavioral disorders; lack of formation of one or several educational skills with established normal intellectual development, the absence of severe neurological pathologies and injuries; lack of effect when strengthening pedagogical support.
  • Pathopsychological research . The psychologist uses various tests aimed at examining the level of intelligence, memory, attention, thinking. With SRRSHN, it is difficult to perform tasks due to the lack of formation of educational skills. Decrease in concentration, stability, distribution of attention is revealed. With speech deviations, semantic memorization and retelling, the formulation of a conclusion about what has been read, is difficult. Violation of counting is manifested by the “loss” of individual tasks in intelligence tests, inability to perform the Schulte test. The level of intelligence and memorization of material not related to the impaired skill is normal.
  • Neuropsychological research . The ability to perform graphic tests is checked, violations of the motor, sensory and nominative functions of speech are detected. During reading, gaps, substitutions of letters, distortions of words, rearrangement of parts of words, inconsistency of words in sentences are determined. In case of violations of the letter – errors in copying text, writing under dictation: the arrangement of letters is confused, there are spelling errors. Solving arithmetic problems, simple examples is difficult, counting with errors. Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills
  • Speech therapy diagnostics. The speech therapist clarifies the speech history, assesses the formation of expressive and impressive speech, phonemic processes, reading and writing skills. Distinguishes between disorders associated with the pathology of the structure of the organs of articulation, from specific disorders of the assimilation of school skills. Determines the degree and nature of the lag in speech, writing.

For differential diagnosis, examinations are prescribed by a neurologist, otolaryngologist, ophthalmologist, audiologist. The results make it possible to exclude lesions of the nervous system, craniocerebral trauma , visual impairment, hearing impairment as the cause of the lack of development of school skills. Mental retardation , mental retardation are excluded according to the study of intelligence, learning ability.

SRRSHN treatment

Treatment is aimed at correcting impaired skills. Additionally, activities are carried out aimed at eliminating emotional and behavioral disorders. The following methods are used:

  • Correction by training. For a child with SRSS, an additional training program is created to the main curriculum, focused on the formation of a certain skill. Methods are used that involve several modalities in the process at once (auditory, visual, motor, articulatory).
  • Neuropsychological correction . An integrative method is used, aimed at mastering phonetic combinations, the spatial structure of words and numbers. Techniques are used that activate compensatory mechanisms – the stimulus material activates the most functional areas of the cortex, allows you to “bypass” existing weak connections.
  • Correction of violations of written speech . The purpose of the exercises and games is the development of grammatically correct oral speech, understanding of sound-letter connections, training the skills of verbal and visual analysis, synthesis, and correction of reading skills. They train grapho-motor coordination, the ability to analyze the grammatical structure of speech, the syntactic structure of a sentence.
  • Child psychotherapy . Individual sessions and group meetings are held with the aim of correcting the emotional state, developing social interaction skills. The cognitive-behavioral approach is widespread. Techniques are aimed at awareness and processing of negative emotions ( depression , anger, anxiety). Specific developmental disorders of schooling skills
  • Pharmacotherapy . It is used for severe behavioral, affective disorders . With depressive, anxiety-depressive symptoms, antidepressants of the group of serotonin reuptake inhibitors are prescribed. Anxiety component is additionally corrected by tranquilizers. With hyperactivity , arousal, psychostimulating drugs are used.

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