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NCJ Number: 66761 Find in a Library
Title: LEARNING DISABILITIES AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES (FROM BIOLOGY AND CRIME, P 77-86, 1979, BY C R JEFFERY - SEE NCJ-71010)
Author(s): H R HOLZMAN
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 10
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THERE IS SOLID EVIDENCE THAT LEARNING DISABILITIES ARE A PREDISPOSING FACTOR IN THE ETIOLOGY OF CAREERS IN DELINQUENCY; SUCH EVIDENCE SHOULD BY INCORPORATED TO STRENGTHEN SOCIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME.
Abstract: LEARNING DISABILITIES (LD) IMPAIR SENSORY AND MOTOR FUNCTIONING, LEAD TO DEVIANT CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE, AND ARE THE PRODUCT OF SOME ABNORMAL PHYSICAL CONDITION. CURRENTLY RECOGNIZED LD'S ARE APHASIA, USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH PROBLEMS IN HEARING AND SPEECH; DYSLEXIA, PRIMARILY INVOLVING READING, AND HYPERACTIVITY, CHARACTERIZED BY EXCESSIVE RESTLESSNESS AND INATTENTIVENESS. STUDIES COMPARING DELINQUENT AND NONDELINQUENT CHILDREN HAVE SHOWN THAT JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TEND TO BE POOR STUDENTS. THEY HAVE A HIGHER INCIDENCE OF SENSORY AND MOTOR PROBLEMS AND DISPLAY A GREATER FREQUENCY OF SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LD. HOWEVER, THESE STUDIES HAVE USED SAMPLE GROUPS OF UNDER 50 AND HAVE DEALT ONLY WITH INCARCERATED DELINQUENTS. RESEARCH COMPARING THE BEHAVIOR PATTERNS OF 'NORMAL' CHILDREN WITH THOSE DIAGNOSED AS LD SUPPORTS THE NOTION THAT THE CHILDREN WITH LD ARE MORE APT TO HAVE BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL. OVERALL, MUCH OF EXISTING RESEARCH STONGLY SUGGESTS THAT THE POSSESSION OF A LEARNING DISORDER, ESPECIALLY HYPERACTIVITY, INCLINES A CHILD TOWARD BEHAVIOR THAT IS LIKELY TO BE DEFINED AS INAPPROPRIATE, IF NOT ACTUALLY DELINQUENT. MOREOVER, BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS OF LD CHILDREN ARE COMMON EARLY IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, BEFORE MOST CHILDREN COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. TEMPORALLY THEN, LD PRECEDES MISCONDUCT AND DELINQUENCY. STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALIST EXPLANATIONS, HOWEVER, MUST BE CRITICIZED IN THEIR EXPLANATIONS OF CHILDREN'S FAILURE IN SCHOOL AS BEING ENTIRELY SOCIOLOGICAL IN NATURE BECAUSE THE THEORY DOES NOT EXPLAIN MIDDLE-CLASS DELINQUENCY, AND IT ASSUMES A CORE SET OF SUCCESS VALUES TO WHICH ALL MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY ARE THOUGHT TO SUBSCRIBE. EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF CHILDREN WITH LD USUALLY RESULTS IN THEIR BEING LABELED AS SPECIAL; THIS PROVIDES THEM WITH MORE NEEDED HELP BUT SUBJECTS THEM TO A LABELING CLASSIFICATION THAT MAY NOT BE HEALTHY. OVERALL, THEN, LINKS BETWEEN LEARNING DISABILITIES AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY CANNOT BE IGNORED, BUT THE EVIDENCE LINKING THE TWO PHENOMENA IS LIMITED AND MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED. EIGHTEEN REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Learning disabilities; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66761

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