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Pediatric approach to early detection of learning disabilities

Korean Journal of Pediatrics 2008;51(9):911-921.
Published online September 15, 2008.
Pediatric approach to early detection of learning disabilities
In Kyung Sung
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Catholic University, Seoul, Korea
학습장애의 조기 발견을 위한 소아과적 접근
가톨릭대학교 의과대학 소아과학교실
In Kyung Sung, Email: sinky@catholic.ac.kr
Learning disabilities (LD) are heterogeneous group of disorders with evidences of genetic or familial trait, intrinsic to the individual and presume to be due to central nervous dysfunction. Learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are the two of the most common disorders in the population of school-age children. Typically academic achievements in children with learning disabilities are significantly lower than expected by their normal or above normal range of IQ. Although academic and cognitive deficits are hallmarks of children with LD, those children are also at risk for a broad range of behavioral and emotional problems. Almost all cases meet criteria for at least one additional diagnosis such as ADHD, developmental coordination disorder, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, tic disorder, among which ADHD is particularly predominant. Because of the response to the therapeutic intervention program is promising and positive when applied early, it is critical to recognize patients as early as possible. Pediatricians often are the first to hear from parents worried about a childs academic progress. It is not the responsibility of pediatrician to make a diagnosis, referring children for a diagnostic evaluation of LD is a reasonable first step. Pediatricians can make early referral of suspicious children by asking some serial short questions about basic and processing skills. With a basic knowledge about the clinical characteristics, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures of LD, pediatricians also can provide primary counseling and education for parents at their outpatient clinical settings.
Key Words: Learning disabilities, Pediatric approach, Early detection

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