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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-28

Prevalence of selected learning disabilities among primary schoolchildren through primary school teachers: A descriptive survey


Community Health Nursing, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission09-Nov-2020
Date of Decision05-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance22-Jan-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Urvashi Goel
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/iopn.iopn_51_20

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  Abstract 


Background: The incidence of dyslexia in Indian primary schoolchildren has been reported to be 2%–18%, dysgraphia 14%, and dyscalculia 5.5%. India is thought to have approximately 90 million people with varying degrees of learning disabilities (LDs) and an average class in school has about five students with LDs. A recent news article in Times of India states that dyslexia is the most common LD with nearly 35 million children suffering from it. Aim: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of selected LDs among primary school children through primary school teachers. Methodology: Quantitative, exploratory research approach with survey design was used to assess the prevalence of selected LDs among primary schoolchildren through 100 primary school teachers as samples in selected primary schools students of Delhi using sociodemographic datasheet and structured questionnaire tool. Results: Evaluation of the questionnaire from 100 teachers identified that 784 (26%) students were at risk of developing LDs among 2934 children. The study shows that out of 784 primary schoolchildren identified at risk, 54.9% were identified having dyslexia, while 23.9% were identified having dysgraphia, and 21.1% were identified having dyscalculia. Conclusion: It is concluded that 26% of the primary school students are at risk of developing selected LDs. Teachers whose class students were found to be at risk of developing LDs were asked to see further medical help.

Keywords: Dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia


How to cite this article:
Goel U. Prevalence of selected learning disabilities among primary schoolchildren through primary school teachers: A descriptive survey. Indian J Psy Nsg 2021;18:23-8

How to cite this URL:
Goel U. Prevalence of selected learning disabilities among primary schoolchildren through primary school teachers: A descriptive survey. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 30];18:23-8. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2021/18/1/23/318672




  Introduction Top


Today's children are tomorrow's responsible citizens of the world. There is a great to emphasize on children these days because of the recognition that a very substantial proportion of the world's population, 35%–45%, constitutes young children.[1] A large percentage of children suffer from learning Disabilities (LDs) or learning difficulties and therefore do not master or partially master – these required academic skills.[2]

LD is a general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities.[3]

LDs are one of the issues that need special attention. India is thought to have approximately 90 million people with varying degrees of LDs and an average class in school has about five students with LDs.[4]

Specific LDs (SLDs) include problems in one or more areas of learning such as reading, writing, listening, speaking, and mathematics. These are usually identified among preschool and primary schoolchildren although tend to progress into adulthood. Globally, they still remain as “one of the least understood and most debated conditions that affect children.” There are a variety of genetic, prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal factors that can lead to variations.[5]

In a review of studies on the subject of LD in India, the prevalence of various types of deficits of scholastic skills was reported to be 3%–10% among the student population (Ramaa, 2000).

In India, some of the educational institutions in the metro cities have recently introduced the system of inclusive education. The students are facing many challenges and problems with regard to the content area of instruction and instructional environment as a whole. The individual's physical, intellectual, emotional, cultural, and social communication needs have not been properly taken into account in the inclusive school system, and hence, it is intended to conduct a study on the crucial area.[6]

At present, in India, LDs are considered only exclusive of a few, especially in urban areas. Most of the research works on LDs are done by private organizations and NGOs. LDs are both medical and educational issues. Unfortunately, in India, there is a large division between the roles played by health and education departments in the recognition and treatment of LDs.[6]

In India, the awareness about LDs is only at the beginning stage. This is a great opportunity to create a nondiscriminatory process to address the problem. Proper assessment patterns in schools can be followed to make it child friendly. At present, there is no uniform guideline in India for diagnosis, assessment of severity, and certification of LDs in India. There is a wide variation in recommendations from state to state and across one board of examination to another.[7]

The Rights of Persons with Disability Bill which was passed in the year 2014 contains 19 disability conditions including the SLDs. “The Bill includes autism spectrum disorder, low vision, blindness, cerebral palsy, deaf blindness, hemophilia, leprosy cured person, intellectual disability, mental illness, loco motor disability, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, SLDs, speech and language disability, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, chronic neurological conditions and multiple disability.” The bill allows the central government to notify any other condition as a disability. The bill states SLDs as a heterogeneous group of conditions wherein there is a deficit in processing language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself as a difficulty to comprehend, speak, read, spell, write, or to do mathematical calculations and includes conditions such as perceptual disabilities, dyslexia, and dysgraphia.[7]

The early detection of any type of handicap has received wide support from the field of medicine, psychology, and education and it is recognized that early diagnosis of a specific condition can lead directly to treatment.[8]


  Methodology Top


A quantitative, nonexperimental, descriptive research approach with a survey design was used for the study. The study settings were eight primary government schools of New Delhi. The population included in the study was primary school teachers with a sample size of 100 primary school teachers who were selected using purposive sampling. The data were collected using survey method with the help of the two research questionnaire which are as follows:

Tool 1: Sociodemographic datasheet

It is self-constructed tool which consists of items related to demographic data of the individuals. These variables were age, sex, professional education, teaching experience, total number of students in the class, age of the students they teach, and exposure to any source of information on LDs. Participants were instructed to give appropriate response of each item.

Tool 2: Structured prevalence questionnaire

A structured questionnaire was prepared for identification of children at risk of developing selected LDs using DSM-V criteria having 19 questions. Samples were asked to fill the questionnaire based on the assessment of the students, they currently are teaching. They were instructed to report the child in the questionnaire if the symptoms have been persistent in the child for 6 months after repeated interventions.

The questions are divided into three main themes: dyslexia (total items – 13); dysgraphia (total items – 6); and dyscalculia (total items – 5). The questionnaire has yes/no and how many students to answer. The total score of how many students is found by adding up the number in each item, which allows finding the percentage of students who are at risk of developing selected LDs.

The tool was validated by the experts in the field of psychiatry, pediatrics, community health nursing, and mental health nursing. Kuder–Richardson-20 reliability test was performed, which measures the reliability of the tool and was found to be 0.8. The study was delimited to primary school teachers only teaching primary school students in New Delhi only. Only the teachers available on the time on data collection were included in the study.

The data were analyzed using inferential and descriptive statistics.

Validity and reliability of the tool

In the present study, the content validity of the tool is established as follows:

To measure the content validity of the tool, it was given to 11 experts from the field of psychiatry, pediatrics, child specialist, community health nursing, child health nursing, and psychiatric nursing. The experts were requested to review the tool on basis of relevance, adequacy of content, organisation, clarity and understanding. Most of the experts agreed on all the items with some suggestions for modification of the item. The modifications were done as for the valuable suggestions given by the experts and the tool was finalized.

Reliability of the tool was 0.8, established using KR-20 method [Table 1].
Table 1: Reliability of Tool

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Ethical consideration

The data collection was done from October 7, 2019 to October 20, 2019, New Delhi after obtaining the formal administrative approval.

Formal approval to conduct the study was obtained from the eight primary government schools and also the written consent from all the teachers who were willing to participate in the study was obtained.

The data were collected in the following manner:

  • Self-introduction and establishment of report with the subjects
  • Purpose of the study was explained to them
  • Subjects were assured of the confidentiality of their responses.


A total of 100 subjects were taken in account using purposive sampling and structured questionnaire prevalence tool was administered to them.

Teachers were asked to fill the questionnaire based on the assessment of the students, they currently are teaching.

They were instructed to report the child in the questionnaire if the symptoms have been persistent in the child for 6 months after repeated interventions.

One teacher approximately had 30–40 students in her class. Hence, when taken 100 teachers from eight different schools, student strength came out to be 2943 which they reported in questionnaire [Table 4].
Table 4: Schoolwise responses of teachers

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Apart from this, written informed consent was obtained from each study participant and permission to collect the data. Confidentiality and privacy of the study participants were also be maintained.


  Results Top


Maximum number of primary school teachers 42 (42%) were in the age group of 29–32 years. More than half 76 (76%) of the primary school teachers were female. Majority of primary school teachers 69 (69%) had undergone elementary teacher training. According to the data, 29 (29%) of primary school teachers taught 67 years of schoolchildren. Majority (44, 44%) of the primary school teachers had total number of students ranging from 31 to 40. Maximum number of primary school teachers 49 (49%) had previous knowledge regarding LDs.

[Table 2] reveals the sample distribution of primary school teachers.
Table 2: Frequency and percentage distribution table of sample characteristics of primary school teacher (n=100)

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Evaluation of the questionnaire from 100 teachers identified that 784 (26%) students were at risk of developing LDs among 2934 children [Figure 1]. [Table 3] reveals the prevalence of risk of developing LDs.
Table 3: Frequency and percentage distribution in terms of children identified at risk of developing selected learning disabilities

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Figure 1: Pie diagram showing percentage distribution of children identified at risk of developing selected learning disabilities

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  Discussion Top


This study is consistent with the study done by Mogasale VV, Patil VD, Patil NM, and MogasaleV. The study was done on “Prevalence of SLDs amomg primary school children in a South Indian City”. A cross-sectional multi-staged stratified randomized cluster sampling study was conducted among children aged 8–11 years from third and fourth standards. A six-level screening approach that commenced with identification of scholastic backwardness followed by stepwise exclusion of impaired vision and hearing, chronic medical conditions, and subnormal intelligence was carried out among these children. In the final step, the remaining children were subjected to specific tests for reading, comprehension, writing, and mathematical calculation. The findings revealed that the prevalence of SLDs was 15.17%. While among those, 12.5% had dysgraphia, 11.2% had dyslexia and 10.5% had dyscalculia.[9]

A study conducted by Arun, Chavan, et al. “A study to assess the prevalence of specific developmental disorder in school students in Chandigarh, India to find out feasibility of screening tool”. A cross-sectional study on school students was carried out in two phases. The students were drawn from Classes VII to XII from 10 schools of Chandigarh, India. Details of academic performance of all the students was taken, subjectively from class teachers and objectively from the marks obtained in the last academic session. In Phase I, 2402 students were assessed. In Phase II, 108 students were randomly selected for evaluation for assessing sensitivity and specificity of screening performa for teachers. A total of 124 students from Phase I and all students in Phase II were assessed in detail. Tests of intelligence (Malin's Intelligence Scale for Indian Children and Standard Progressive Matrices) and NIMHANS Index for SLD battery were administered. A total of 38 students were found to be having specific developmental disorder of scholastic skills in phase I that gave a prevalence of 1.58%. Majority had mixed type of errors on SLD battery. There were more boys diagnosed with SLD.[10]


  Conclusion Top


It is concluded that 26% of the primary school students are at risk of developing selected LDs. Teachers whose class students were found to be at risk of developing LDs were asked to see further medical help.

Recommendations

In nursing practice, nurse educator or practitioner can encourage and motivate the parents and teachers to know about their child's psychological aspect and strategies to cope with it.

School health nurse can also help in identifying and further referring children for clinical diagnoses to a psychiatrist for early treatment at an early stage with proper coordination from family and school.

In nursing education, regular health education program can help to spread the awareness about LDs at community level. In nursing administration, coordination of nursing administration with the schools to provide better environment and facilities for children affected with LDs. Also, counseling sessions for families and teachers an be organized to provide guidance regarding identification and care of children with Selected LDs.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Dilshad HA. Prevalence of Learning Difficulties / Disability among Primary School Children; 2009. Available from: http://etd.uasd.edu/ft/th8654.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Jennifer C, Linda G. Changing Student teachers' attitudes towards disability and inclusion. J Intellect Dev Disabil 2003;2:369-79.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Donnelly V. European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education; 2006. Available from: http://www.european-agency.org/agency-projects/teacher-education-for-inclusion/teacher-education-web-files/TE4I-Literature-Review.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 27]  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Rao S. Faculty attitudes and students with disabilities in higher education: A literature review. Coll Stud J 2004;34:191-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Aunola K, Leskinen E, Nurmi JE. Developmental dynamics between mathematical performance, task motivation, and teachers' goals during the transition to primary school. J Psychol 2006;76:21-40.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Tully LA, Moffitt TE, Caspi A, Taylor A, Kiernan H, Andreou P. What effect does classroom separation have on twins' behavior, progress at school, and reading abilities? Twin Res 2004;7:115-24.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Karanth P. Learning Disabilities in India: Willing the Mind to Learn. California, U.S: SAGE Publications; 2010. p. 17-29.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Neeraja P, Anuradha K. Adjustment problems faced by children with learning disabilities, impact of special education. Indian J Sci Res 2104;5:77-81.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Goerge JB. Identification of children with learning disabilities. In: The Base Professional Practice. 5th ed. Noida:Pearson; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Alex J. Learning disabilities: Assessment and intervention. Indian J Res 2013;2:25-9.  Back to cited text no. 10
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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