Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Carol A. Christensen
The term learning disorders refers to the problems or difficulties that some students experience in acquiring the necessary knowledge or skills that lead to academic achievement. Explanations for learning disorders are contested. Early understandings of problems in learning were psychological in nature and based on the medical model. Recently, sociological critiques of psychomedical approaches have led to new educational perspectives. The medical model suggests that symptoms of a disease are the visible manifestations of an underlying pathology, requiring an accurate diagnosis to define appropriate treatment of the pathology and result in a cure. A psychological approach to learning disorders based on the medical model sees the symptom of the “disease” as low achievement. The underlying pathology is a categorical label (e.g., learning or intellectual disabilities). Through educational assessment diagnosing the condition, treatment in the form of intervention targets the underlying pathology in order to cure the condition. The most widely ...