Children with reading and spelling difficulties lag behind their peers despite special education

April 25, 2017

The reading skills of children with reading and spelling difficulties (RSD) lag far behind the age level in the first two school years, despite special education received from special education teachers. Furthermore, the spelling skills of children who in addition to RSD had other learning difficulties also lagged behind their peers in the first two school years. The follow-up study was carried out at the University of Eastern Finland and the findings were published in the European Journal of Special Needs Education.

"Our findings are relevant both in terms of teacher education and in terms of special education resources schools allocate to reading and spelling skills," says Professor of Special Education Leena Holopainen from the University of Eastern Finland, summing up the findings.

In the Finnish education system, students do not need a formal diagnosis to receive special educational services, and the need for support is assessed in collaboration between the student, the parents and the teacher.

On a positive note, two thirds of children who had RSD and who lagged behind the age level received part-time special education approximately once a week during their first and second school years.

"However, one third of children received part-time special education only either in their first or in their second year of school, and the average amount was less than 30 hours per year."

In children with RSD and also other learning difficulties, the level of reading skills lagged far behind the age level, and the gap continued to grow during the first two school years.

"This warrants the question of whether the contents and teaching methods used in special education meet the needs of children. Do we have enough skilled special education teachers capable of helping children with reading and spelling difficulties?"

According to Professor Holopainen, it is important for schools to find ways to organise their special education in reading and spelling in a way that provides sufficiently efficient support to all children who need it also after the first school year.

"Approximately 10-15 per cent of primary school children suffer from developmental reading and spelling difficulties. Identifying these children as early on as possible and making special education available to them is of key importance in overcoming RSD and in preventing other, secondary difficulties in learning and studying," Professor Holopainen concludes.
-end-
For further information, please contact:

Professor Leena Holopainen, leena.holopainen(at)uef.fi, tel. +358 50 407 2249

Research article:

p>Leena Holopainen, Noona Kiuru, Minna Mäkihonko & Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen. The role of part-time special education supporting students with reading and spelling difficulties from grade 1 to grade 2 in Finland. European Journal of Special Needs Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2017.1312798

University of Eastern Finland

Related Learning Articles from Brightsurf:

Learning the language of sugars
We're told not to eat too much sugar, but in reality, all of our cells are covered in sugar molecules called glycans.

When learning on your own is not enough
We make decisions based on not only our own learning experience, but also learning from others.

Learning more about particle collisions with machine learning
A team of Argonne scientists has devised a machine learning algorithm that calculates, with low computational time, how the ATLAS detector in the Large Hadron Collider would respond to the ten times more data expected with a planned upgrade in 2027.

Getting kids moving, and learning
Children are set to move more, improve their skills, and come up with their own creative tennis games with the launch of HomeCourtTennis, a new initiative to assist teachers and coaches with keeping kids active while at home.

How expectations influence learning
During learning, the brain is a prediction engine that continually makes theories about our environment and accurately registers whether an assumption is true or not.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

Learning is optimized when we fail 15% of the time
If you're always scoring 100%, you're probably not learning anything new.

School spending cuts triggered by great recession linked to sizable learning losses for learning losses for students in hardest hit areas
Substantial school spending cuts triggered by the Great Recession were associated with sizable losses in academic achievement for students living in counties most affected by the economic downturn, according to a new study published today in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Lessons in learning
A new Harvard study shows that, though students felt like they learned more from traditional lectures, they actually learned more when taking part in active learning classrooms.

Learning to look
A team led by JGI scientists has overhauled the perception of inovirus diversity.

Read More: Learning News and Learning Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.