A significant percentage of the world population suffers common learning disabilities like attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. These disabilities are caused by differences in human brain's neurology. They affect the way learners process, store and retrieve information within and outside the school environment. They can severely affect a student's academic trajectory if they are not diagnosed and treated during early childhood. However, if treated properly, the development of a student's literacy skills from preliminary to later stages of learning occurs naturally. Thus, allowing individual learners to pursue education.
Over time, numerous cases of unrecognized learning disabilities among students in institutions of higher learning go undiagnosed. The unnoticed progression of neurological differences in how human brains manage information from childhood into adulthood has become a subject for research because they can affect a students academic and future life in various ways.
Wilmshurst, Peele, and Wilmshurst (2011) noted that learning disabilities are one of the leading causes of intellectual deficiency among students. Inept literacy skills lead to poor performance in learning evaluation outcomes. It should be noted that the perpetuity of poor results is guaranteed when an underlying learning challenge remains unnoticed. Consequently, students motivation to pursue education is compromised. Under such circumstances, the students may feel disparaged and degenerate into depression and feelings of worthlessness.
1.2. Background to the Study
A survey conducted between 1988 and 1994 by Alexander and Kravets (1997) revealed that 32% of first-year students reported common learning disabilities as compared to 15% at the beginning and end years of the survey respectively. The statistics suggested an upward trend in the increase of undiagnosed learning disabilities among learners in colleges. There is a scholarly consensus among modern psychologists that a significant percentage of learning disabilities transcend into adulthood undiagnosed. The aforementioned statistic reveals that approximately a 1/3 of the population of the beginners suffered common learning disabilities that educators may not diagnose for purposes of treatment.
Education is an essential factor in the pursuit of self-actualization. Over the centuries, it has stood out as one of the major distinguishing factors between the rich and the poor and the civilized and the barbaric. A report by the United States Department of education revealed that a degree holder earns averagely 50% more than their diploma counterparts. Additionally, there are lower rates of employment among the former as compared to the latter. General literacy level is a critical factor in communal development. The prevalence of cases of undiagnosed learning challenges among students in institutions poses a serious challenge to sustained communal development.
The effects of learning disabilities on students academic performance students persist if they are not diagnosed and treated. Lewandowski, Lovett, Codding, and Gordon (2008) explain that the disabilities contribute to poor performance in evaluation outcomes because the students lack sufficient literacy skills. The persistence of the challenges through various stages of education commits students to undesirable grades throughout their academic journey. One of the most common effects of prolonged failure in any prolonged venture is frustration. Gregg (2009) notes that learning disabilities are a leading source of the depression and emotional breakdown that degenerates into deviance.
1.3 Significance of The study
The progression of a learning disability into later stages of education is a catastrophic reality. As noted earlier, it is often as a result of failure by early educators and facilitators to identify common learning disabilities that end up having long-term implications on a learner's academic life. A growing body of literature reveals that the effects of an undiagnosed progression have far-reaching implications on the socio-economic well-being of the learners.
The study will investigate the effects of the undiagnosed progression of learning disabilities among college students. The study will consider the effects of the disabilities on the students academic performance, attitude towards learning, risk factors, and potential implication on their future careers. It is safe to assume that the effects of the disabilities at the college level may impact their life after school.
The findings of the study will be useful in designing interventions that will enable educators and facilitators to identify potential common or complex learning disabilities at an early stage that would on previous occasions go unnoticed. Further, educators in institutions of higher learning will utilize the findings of the study to assess and determine whether students under their management may manifest any signs of common learning disabilities. The recommendations that will be raised by the study will be useful in designing interventions that may assist the educators to manage the disabilities and allow the students to pursue academic excellence comfortably.
Permission will be sought from the relevant authorities to obtain information from willing educators, and psychologists on how the students they have managed have been affected by learning disabilities that have gone undiagnosed in their earlier stages of education. The willing participants will be interviewed on the topic, and it is important to note that their privacy is guaranteed.
1.5 Research Questions
The study outlines the following research questions
What are the effects of learning disabilities on college students?
How learning disabilities affect students' academic performance?
What is the role of educators in the identification and management of potential learning disabilities among students in higher learning institutions?
What are the potential interventions to learning disabilities at the college level of education?
1.6. Research Objectives
This study aims at investigating the effects of learning disabilities on college students. The goal of the study will be achieved through the following objectives:
To examine the effects of learning disabilities on the academic performance of college students
To illustrate how learning disabilities potentially affect a learners future career/
To evaluate the role of educators in the identification and management of potential learning disabilities among students in institutions of higher learning.
To identify potential interventions to learning disabilities at the college level.
1.7 Delimitation and Limitation
The study aims to investigate the effects of learning disabilities on students in college. The primary focus is to illustrate how the undiagnosed learning disabilities impact the students' academic performance and socio-economic lifedisabilities. The study anticipates limitations such as biased responses to interview questions. Also, the respondent may give false answers that would invalidate the findings of the study. Cooperation with the respondents is potentially another limitation that the study anticipates. The need to protect the image of institutions of higher learning may trigger the need to either provide biased or false information or refuse to cooperate. The aforementioned limitations may also trigger time wastage; thus, the projected timeline may not be realized.
1.8. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
Gregg (2009) approach to assessment and accommodation of adults with learning disabilities provides this study with a solid theoretical framework. His published research enriches the understanding of the challenges that progression of learning disabilities into adulthood pose to the socio-economic well-being of patients and their pursuit of academic success. Gregg highlights psychological and emotional issues as the main challenges that adults with learning disabilities face on a daily basis. He further explains behavioral manifestations of the issues above such as drug abuse and school abandonment as the products of the emotional and psychological degeneration that results from the failure to succeed in school.
The percentage of undiagnosed cases of learning disabilities among adults is devastatingly high. According to published literature, one out of every six adults suffers the effects of undiagnosed learning disabilities. At school, the poor academic performance is a widely linked risk factor and a basis for numerous other problems that are associated with functional illiteracy.
2. Chapter Two: Literature Review
This chapter begins with the definitions a description of common learning disabilities. In later parts, the section reviews studies that have been conducted by previous researchers on the effects of undiagnosed learning disabilities on college students. Over the years, a growing body of literature on learning disabilities has been consolidated. Psychologists have identified
2.1 Definition of Learning Disability
A learning disability is a neurological disorder interfering with a persons ability to produce information, sore and process. The learning disabilities affect the higher functions of an individual Holmes & O'loughlin, (2014).
2.2 Specific Learning Disabilities
2.2.1 Auditory Processing Disorder
This is a learning disability that affects how an open sound traveling through the human ear is processed and eventually interpreted by the brain. Persons with this condition do not recognize delicate differences between different sounds in words even if the sounds are thunderous and clear to be heard. These individuals are not able to tell where the sound is coming from, are unable to make sense of the order of the sound and are unable to block out the competing background noises hence are not able to listen to the teacher when there are some little interferences.
Students with this condition find it difficult to process and remember language-related tasks, but they may have no problem with non-verbal environmental sounds and music. These students prepare their thoughts slowly and have difficulties in trying to explain them. They also mispronounce words that sound the same and may omit some syllables as well as confuse the sounds that sound similar. For instance, jab and job, bash and batch. The fact that the student is distracted by the background sounds and noises, he or she is not able to pay the needed attention to what is being taught. They also find it challenging to stay entirely focused on or remembering a lecture or a verbal presentation.
To overcome the Auditory Processing Disorder the teacher needs to show and illustrate more rather than offering explanations. This can be supplemented by the use of intact senses like visual cues, handouts, signals, and manipulatives. The teacher should reduce or space directions between them and the student without the auditory processing disorder and give cues like "ready?" to make them ready and more attentive. The teacher also needs to vary the pitch and the tone of the voice, stress the vital worlds and alter the pace as well as allow the student a few seconds to respond "think time."
This is a form of a learning disability affecting an individuals handwriting ability and the excellent motor skills. People with this learning disability have problems like illegible handwriting, poor spelling, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on the paper, thinking and writing issues.
Students with dysgraphia have illegible printing as well as cursive writing. They show inconsistencies as there are mixtures of cursive and print, lower and upper case, irregular shapes and sizes and slanting of letters....
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