61| Specific Learning Disorders – A Conversation With Dr. Robin Peterson

Models for diagnosis and treatment of learning disorders have changed over time. Still, there are many old beliefs and myths that may lead parents and schools in the wrong direction when working with children with learning disorders. Today, John and Ryan talk with Robin Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, about learning disorders, issues around diagnosing disorders of written expression, the concept of academic and its relationship to Spearman’s g, risk factors for learning disorders, common comorbidities of learning disorders, the resource allocation hypothesis, and achievement gaps across groups.

A pdf of the transcript for this episode is available here.

Topics Covered

  • The difference between learning disability and learning disorder
  • How learning disorders are not very “specific”
  • Criteria for three well-defined learning disorders
  • Recommendations for parents of children with specific writing-related difficulties
  • The concept of academic g and its relationship to Spearman’s g
  • Genetic and biological factors contributing to academic success
  • Early cognitive predictors of learning disorders, including dyslexia
  • Debunking the myth of reading letters backward in dyslexia
  • Phoneme awareness in dyslexia
  • Cognitive correlates of math and reading disorders
  • Common comorbidities of learning disorders
  • Learning disorders and attention difficulties
  • Explanation of the resource allocation hypothesis
  • Treatment models for learning disorders
  • Clinical diagnostic decision making for learning disorders
  • Achievement gaps across groups

About Robin

Dr. Robin L. Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the Children’s Hospital Colorado/University of Colorado School of Medicine. Robin is the co-author of the book, Diagnosing Learning Disorders: From Science to Practice, along with Drs. Bruce Pennington and Lauren McGrath. Her clinical and research interests include learning disabilities, pediatric traumatic brain injury, and spina bifida.

Selected References

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Caravolas, M., Lervåg, A., Mousikou, P., Efrim, C., Litavský, M., Onochie-Quintanilla, E., … & Seidlová-Málková, G. (2012). Common patterns of prediction of literacy development in different alphabetic orthographies. Psychological Science, 23(6), 678-686.

Eklund, K., Torppa, M., Aro, M., Leppänen, P. H. T., & Lyytinen, H. (2015). Literacy Skill Development of Children With Familial Risk for Dyslexia Through Grades 2, 3, and 8. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(1), 126-140.

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Landerl, K., Ramus, F., Moll, K., Lyytinen, H., Leppänen, P. H. T., Lohvansuu, K., …. Schulte-Körne, G. (2013). Predictors of developmental dyslexia in European orthographies with varying complexity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54, 686–694.

MacDonald Wer, B. M. (2014). Comparison of reading development across socioeconomic status in the United States. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Denver).

Moll, K., Ramus, F., Bartling, J., Bruder, J., Kunze, S., Neuhoff, N., … Landerl, K. (2014). Cognitive mechanisms underlying reading and spelling development in five European orthographies. Learning and Instruction29, 65-77.

Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., Mattison, R., Maczuga, S., Li, H., & Cook, M. (2015). Minorities are disproportionately underrepresented in special education: Longitudinal evidence across five disability conditions. Educational Researcher, 44(5), 278-292.

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Quinn, J. M. (2016). Predictors of reading comprehension: A model-based meta-analytic review (Doctoral dissertation, The Florida State University).

Salceda, J. C. R., Alonso, G. A., & Castilla-Earls, A. P. (2014). The simple view of reading in elementary school: A systematic review. Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología, 34(1), 17-31.

Seymour, P. H. K., Aro, M., Erskine, J. M., Wimmer, H., Leybaert, J., Elbro, C., … Olofsson, Å. (2003). Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94(2), 143–174.

Share, D. L. (2008). On the Anglocentricities of current reading research and practice: the perils of overreliance on an” outlier” orthography. Psychological Bulletin, 134(4), 584-615.

Torppa, M., Georgiou, G. K., Lerkkanen, M. K., Niemi, P., Poikkeus, A. M., & Nurmi, J. E. (2016). Examining the simple view of reading in a transparent orthography: A longitudinal study from kindergarten to grade 3. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly (1982-), 62(2), 179-206.

Vaessen, A., Bertrand, D., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Faísca, L., Reis, A., & Blomert, L. (2010). Cognitive development of fluent word reading does not qualitatively differ between transparent and opaque orthographies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(4), 827-842.

Washington, J. A., Branum-Martin, L., Lee-James, R., & Sun, C. (2018). Reading and language performance of low-income, African American boys in grades 1–5. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 1-23.

Wimmer, H., Mayringer, H., & Landerl, K. (2000). The double deficit hypothesis and difficulties in learning to read a regular orthography. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 668–680.

Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: a psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 3-29.