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Velocardiofacial syndrome: learning difficulties and intervention.
  1. L L Kok,
  2. R T Solman
  1. Department of Education Studies, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia.


    Velocardiofacial syndrome, delineated in 1978 by Shprintzen, is a multiple genetic disorder, characterised primarily by cleft palate, cardiovascular anomalies, typical facies, and learning disorders. This syndrome with its recurrent pattern of anomalies has significant implications for education as it is linked to a variety of educationally relevant problems including learning difficulties, behaviour disorders, and speech and language deficits. While clinical research advances and new findings in cytogenetics enable early diagnosis and genetic counselling, ramifications of the syndrome in the field of education are still unknown. Learning difficulties should not be viewed solely as a pathological condition and with data on success of intervention, parents and teachers can be apprised of the information. This paper discusses academic characteristics and the effects of intervention with emphasis on interactive computer based instruction on the development of reading, language, spelling, and numeracy skills. Positive effects of computer based instruction on students' self-esteem, motivation, and competence in computer operational skills were also observed and noted. We are encouraged by the enthusiasms of the students for the system, the development of interest in reading, and the transfer of remedial instruction to classroom performance. Comparison of pretest and post-test results indicated significant improvement in reading ability as measured using Neale Analysis. This improvement is in accordance with results obtained using computer testing of specific subskills in reading/language and mathematics.

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