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Does Attachment Theory Theory Provide A Sounf Basis For Bringing Up Children

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Examine the argument that the cognitive, biological and environmental explanations of dyslexia are complementary. (Specimen)

"Different perspectives lead to different theories. And different theories can provide insights into the same thing"

Littelton et al Mapping Psychology 1 OU 2002

Dyslexia is a congenital condition that results in a primary difficulty in learning to read and write, although its behavioural symptoms are far more wide ranging than this. Uta Frith (1999) suggests there are 3 main perspectives on any developmental condition: behavioural perspective, cognitive perspective and biological perspective. She also emphasises the significant impact environmental factors can have in the explanations offered from the biological, cognitive and behavioural perspectives. This paper aims to outline and evaluate the "object of knowledge" of each perspective. From there it will identify and compare the methods used by each perspective and the intervention strategies proposed to facilitate "change". In so doing, this paper will clarify whether the cognitive, biological and environmental explanations of dyslexia are complementary.

All three perspectives offer different views of what they see as important in dyslexia research. Behavioural perspectives describe the behavioural signs experienced by people with dyslexia. Cognitive perspectives offer insights into the mental processes involved and influenced by dyslexia. The biological perspective is offers explanations of the behavioural symptoms in terms of possible biological origins eg. Genetic, neurophysiological, or biochemical. Each perspective obviously differs in their "object of knowledge" , yet all three remain focused on the condition of dyslexia. Evidently the behaviourist perspective conflicts with the cognitive perspective regarding mental processes and whether emphasis should be on just behaviour of behaviour that is used to make inferences about what is going on in the head.

Behavioural perspectives use directly observable behaviour to establish the possibility of the presence of this developmental condition. They identify signs such as difficulty in linking sound to a symbol, orientation of letters (Samuel Orton twisted symbols), problems breaking up words into their constituent sound, difficulty sequencing information ( affects rote learning, m tables, expression of ideas) and mixed handedness ( Alexander Falody) Dyslexia is primarily manifested by a difficulty to read and write. In this case the "signs" are likely to be identified by a parent/ guardian or teacher who would be in direct contact with the child during the learning processes of reading and writing.

Comparatively, cognitive perspective use experiments to make inferences about human behaviour in the case of dyslexia. The cognitive perspective recognises that several features of dyslexia point towards memory, and perception and attention to a lesser extent. Through experimentation, difficulties with tasks involving STM processing have been identified eg. mental arithmetic, spelling and writing. As a result, it is possible to suggest that a deficit in phonological processing may provide an explanation for dyslexia, which in turn would explain the reading and writing difficulties experienced by dyslexia sufferers. While the cognitive perspective does not extend our understanding of dyslexia, it does account for a range of behavioural symptoms observed in dyslexia sufferers. In addition, a deficit in phonological processing is one of many other cognitive explanations for dyslexia, including visual perception and automatisation of skills.

Samuel Orton observed children with specific reading difficulties and suggested that their reading difficulties may reflect some visual processing impairment involving incomplete specialisation between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Here the behaviourist and cognitive perspectives are seen as complementary, in that the behaviourist approach is adopted through observation and a cognitive approach was applied to these observations.

Although origins of dyslexia are far from obvious, it does occur within families, indicating possible genetic contributions, bringing me to the biological perspective. Physical traits appear to be "representative" of people with dyslexia. These include mixed-handedness and minor physical anomalies (abnormalities), and being male to mention a few. By connecting these physical descriptions to observed behavioural dyslexia symptoms, we may identify clues to the possible biological mechanisms underlying the condition eg genetic influence, biochemistry, or the abnormal metabolism of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) etc. This perspective offers another view of possible causes of dyslexia, and in my opinion the biological perspective broadens our knowledge on the topic. If we compare the biological and cognitive perspectives we see certain similarities: both require experimental validation and offer a theoretical explanation for the behavioural difficulties observed.

Considering the three perspectives described above, each is unique, offering different insights into the aspects of dyslexia they consider, but notwithstanding this, their existence together is seen as complementary.

Unfornately, dyslexia is with an individual for life. While some seek to "change " or at least manage their dyslexia, others do not. Each perspective offers possible measures to encourage "change" in a way that affords the individual a chance to maximise their potential, despite dyslexia. In fact rather than viewing dyslexia as a deficiency, it is proposed that dyslexia be thought of as a unique cognitive style favouring holistic reasoning over sequential processing of information. Behavioural therapies for dyslexia are rooted in the principals of classical conditioning and behaviour modification therapy. A practical form of this is used in many Irish and UK schools in the guise of "token economy" , where pupils best effort and good behaviour is rewarded with league points or gold stars as part of a class reward system. It's a method adopted in many homes by parents.

Cognitive approaches

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