The second article I chose to read and respond to was written by another UPEI professor, Greg McKenna. It is titled “Can learning disabilities explain low literacy?” This was a study done in 2010 and I’ve chosen to focus on the report that came as a result of that study.
Learning disabilities can be defined as “a condition giving rise to difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the level expected of those of the same age, especially when not associated with a physical handicap.”
Those who meet diagnostic criteria often have the benefit of government grants, tax incentives and the mandatory legal provision of their specific accommodations to be met by educational institutions.
While, “low literacy is a hidden problem. Many adults with low literacy have developed coping skills that enable them to function quite well in most situations. Low literacy does not mean low intelligence. This group does not receive additional supports educationally or financially.
They are two separate issues, however both have a similar outcomes. A deficit in the area of reading. While one group benefits from government assistance, the other does not. I ask your opinion, is that fair?
This study differs from most because it focused on adults as opposed to children. It looked at variables such as gender, age, education, income and employment status. It also looked at secondary variables such as parent’s level of education, co-occuring disabilities, remedial reading, and reading practices at home.
Some interesting findings were that gender was found not to be a considerable variable, however age was. Also there was a strong correlation between LD’s and co-occuring disabilities with vision or hearing. Educational attainment and level of income were found to be significantly and negatively associated with LD.
Given the number of individuals with low literacy skills, a significant concern is that only a relatively small percentage are receiving remedial services while in school. The study found that intervention should not be contingent on a specific diagnosis of LD, nor should services be withheld until a formal assessment and diagnosis is complete. (McKenna)
I agree with this as diagnosis can be a lengthy and expensive process that many families choose not to go through. But it would be beneficial to access supports and services.