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May 16, 1980

Learning disabilities: lagging field in medicine

JAMA. 1980;243(19):1883-1892. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300450005002

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Up to 16% of American children have diverse difficulties that seriously interfere with their school performance. Primary care physicians can be helpful to these children but need considerably more information and training in such problems. Semantics also presents difficulties.

This was the consensus at a medical symposium on the need for interdisciplinary treatment of learning disabilities held as part of the recent Milwaukee International Conference of the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (ACLD).

At the symposium, a report was given on an unpublished survey conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. All of 60 randomly selected pediatricians stated that they see patients with learning disabilities in their practices, according to Janet O. Lerner, PhD, professor of special education at Chicago's Northeastern Illinois University, and Susan L. Cohn, a senior at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. But 73% did not think that they had received adequate preparation for