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Impact of Bir th Complications on the Severity Level of Learning Disabilities In Indian Children

Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference of the Bombay Psychological Association Smita A. Desai, Ph.D., Penka Tuhchieva, Diplom (Psychology), & Ruchi Brahmachari, M.A. 1st December 2013


Rationale ď‚— Growing evidence in the field that early

identification of learning disabilities is associated with better prognosis ď‚— Pathogenesis of learning disabilities is multi-factorial,

with some genetic/organic as well as environmental variables ď‚— Awareness of high-risk factors and providing

appropriate early intervention is critical to better outcomes


Introduction  Prior research has found relationships between

history of birth complications and presence of cognitive and neurological impairment Chaudhari et al.,1999; Hack et al., 1994

 Prevalence of learning disabilities in children with

history of birth complications higher than those with normal birth histories O’Callaghan, et al., 1996; Saigal, et al., 1991, Johnson, 2000


Our study ď‚— Aim to explore the differences in cognitive

functioning, academic skills, auditory and visual perceptual skills, information processing skills among students with LD, with and without a history of birth complications


Methodology  In-field study at Drishti, an urban tertiary referral

centre for assessments and therapy in Mumbai  97 participants, between ages of 8 to 11  71 (73.2%) male, 26 (26.8%) female  52 (53.6%) with Birth complications, 45 (46.4%)

without Birth complications


Selection criteria Inclusion:  Ages of 8 to 11  Diagnostic criteria for dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia used:  History of poor academic performance (below 40% aggregate) or

failure across past 1-2 academic years  Average to above- Average IQ scores  Academic achievement is at least 1 year below age level  Deficits in Information processing skills  Deficits in areas of visual and/or auditory perception


Selection criteria  Birth History: Birth Complications Group included

one or more of the following: Low birth weight, preterm delivery, natal trauma leading to emergency C-section, neonatal jaundice, gestational hypertension, asphyxia, cervical incompetence, meconium aspiration syndrome, infection  EXCLUSION CRITERIA:  Screening for hearing impairment, neurological

difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorder


Procedure  Retrospective data analysis of data from psychoeducational

assessment archives at Drishti  Tools used:  WISC- Indian adaptation/ MISIC  Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery, Revised  Ross Information Processing Assessment- Primary form  Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test  Test of Auditory Perceptual Skills-Revised


Hypothesis 1 ď‚— Children with LD+BC have lower level of

intellectual functioning than children with LD with nBC ď‚— Results & Discussion:

No significant differences were found on measures of GIQ. However, the mean score for the BC group was lower than the nBC group, which was in the expected direction.


Hypothesis 2 Children with BC have greater deficits in information processing

skills than children with nBC. Results & Discussion: No significant differences were found on measures IPQ. However, the mean scores for the BC group were lower than the nBC group, which were in the expected direction. The groups did show a difference in terms of diagnostic categories. The mean IPQ of the BC group was in the “profound deficits” range, whereas the mean IPQ of the nBC group was in the “severe deficits” range.


Hypothesis 3 ď‚— Children with BC have greater deficits in visual perceptual

skills, than children with nBC. ď‚— Results and Discussion:

The deficits in visual perceptual skills of the BC group were seen to be more severe than the deficits of the nBC group. From the BC group, 92.3% showed significant or severe deficits, compared to 77.8% of the nBC group. Thus, the difference between both groups was seen to be statistically significant (F=4.124, p<0.05).


Hypothesis 4 ď&#x201A;&#x2014; Children with BC have greater deficits in auditory perceptual

skills, than children with nBC. ď&#x201A;&#x2014; Results and Discussion:

The BC group showed greater deficits in the mean APQ scores compared to the nBC group. This difference was statistically significant (F=5.368, p<0.05). The mean APQs of both groups fall in the range of moderate deficits. In the BC group, 71.2% had moderate deficits as compared to 55.6% in the nBC group.


Hypothesis 5  Children in LD+BC group will have poorer academic

achievement than those with normal birth histories.  Results and Discussion:  Scores on the subtests of WJ-R were compared for

both groups.  No significant group differences were found.

However, academic performances for children in both groups were in the Below Average range.


Conclusion/Take-home  The relationship between perinatal/neonatal

complications and cognitive difficulties that manifest in the form of LD is well-established.  A close liaison between consulting pediatricians and

early intervention specialists should be encouraged to ensure that children “at-risk” get appropriate help early on.  Educating parents about this would be vital to ensure

that they can advocate for their child as well.


Thank you! Contact: Dr. Smita Desai Ms. Ruchi Brahmachari 205-206 Midas Chamber near Fun Republic Andheri West Mumbai 400053 p. +91-22-26732496 www.drishtionline.com

Impact of Birth Complications on the Severity Level of Learning Disabilities In Indian Children  

Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference of the Bombay Psychological Association Authors: Smita A. Desai, Ph.D., Penka Tuhchieva,...

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