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Retrospective Diagnosis of DLD Essay



Learning disability (LD) refers to the inconsistency between the possible and the actual level of the academic outcome as determined by an individual’s intellectual capacities.

Learning disability is concerned with impairment or problems dealing with attention or concentration, aural and visual information encoding, or language development (Stoke, 2010). Developmental Learning Disabilities are the learning disabilities that change with time.

Typically, diagnosis of LD entails psychologic, cognitive, medical, educational, medical, speech, and language analysis. This essay will focus on the biological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components of Albert Einstein case study.

Various organizations dealing with cases of learning disabilities argue that Albert Einstein suffered developmental learning disability (DLD).

Based on the Learning Disorder (LD) records, Einstein had difficulties talking up to the age of 4, and this is a clear indication that he was faced with a disability.

Moreover, Einstein could also not read until he was nine years old. This claim was supported by the fact that Einstein failed on his first attempt to join college. Later on, he would also lose three educator’s positions within two years (Du Plessis, 2009).

Biological component

A biological element of DLD is attributed to a developmental setback in the dominant hemisphere that hinders the non-dominant parietal lobe responsible for conferring talents (Chakravarty, 2009).

In the case of Albert Einstein, a post-mortem assessment of his brain revealed that “… the stem of the lateral sulcus was found to be continuous with the bottom end of the postcentral sulcus” (Chakravarty, 2009, p. 100).

As a result of this abnormality in the neuroanatomy, the regions of the brain attributed to abstraction and creativity (the inferior parietal lobes) are undivided, unlike in a normal case. Moreover, a dominant hemisphere injury can cause the manifestation of creative abilities.

Regardless of the cause for DLD, whether it is an inherent predisposition or a physical injury, there are apparent biological correlates and precursors associated with the disability (Stoke, 2010).

Emotional component

Emotional, behavioral, and social difficulties can be attributed to DLD. According to Clegg et al., (2005), these problems commonly manifest as anxiety, behavioral and social impairments, and attention-deficit problems.

Furthermore, the possibility of DLD extending its effects into adulthood should not be overlooked as well. The emotional, as well as the economical pressure, focused on parents, caregivers and learning institutions can be overwhelming if DLD extends into adulthood.

Adults with DLD have difficulties developing and sustaining a friendship, acquaintances, and relationships. Since adults with DLD cannot sustain independent living, the burden is usually placed on parents to provide support for relationship DLD adult sufferer (Stoke, 2010).

About Einstein, one of his educators portrayed him as shy and “…mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams” (Marlin, 2000, p. 151).

Nevertheless, although certain emotional havoc visited him due to his teacher’s skeptics, his fantasies could not be comprehended by his teachers (Chapman, Meyer, Weaver, 2009). Einstein did not manifest any emotional abnormalities during his adulthood.

Cognitive Component

According to DSM-IV-TR, a learning disorder occurs when a person presents skills below the standards that would be expected concerning his/her age and grade in an arbitrary gap (BehaveNet clinical capsule, 1996-2010).

However, this definition does not specify precisely the forms of deficiencies that are significant for diagnostics purposes of DLD.

To determine such information, the diagnostic classification of Reading Disorder must be measured.

Reading disorder refers to a reading outcome below the expected standardized scores of reading acuity or understanding concerning the individual’s measured aptitude, age, and age-relevant education.

Although the higher incidence of the psychiatric condition has been shown in DLD sufferers, research study has particularly distinguished cognitive problems, the concept of mind deficit and, or knowledge acquisition impairment in diagnosed sufferers in the future (Clegg, 2005).

In spite of the various studies, categories of children afflicted with more than one development disorders (dyslexia, reading disorders, and math disorder) indicate many cognitive potentials, including higher problem-solving abilities and visuospatial skills(Chakravarty, 2009).

In the case of Einstein, his proficiency in the domain of visuospatial understanding surpassed his initial setback in speech and academic progression.

Behavioral Component

The speech setback experienced by Einstein compelled him to adopt various habits to compensate for the drawback. For example, he would say a sentence to himself before saying it in a social setting (Marlin, 2000).

Such adaptive behaviors could have become useful in compensating for the impediment in phonological processing; particularly the phonological loop part of the working memory (Clegg, 2005).

On account of Einstein’s sister, the aforementioned behavior went on up to the age 7, although it abated immediately afterward and never re-emerged. This indicates that he did not suffer from an LD because DLD is not known to resolve on its own arbitrarily.


The evidence of delay in speech, abnormal behavior inclination, and numerous neurological abnormalities in Einstein does not certainly warrant a retrospective diagnosis of DLD.

This argument is based on the fact that he did not sustain the habit of repeating phrases to self past age seven.

Besides, his other cognitive advantage surpassed his setback in mastering speech such that the former more or less counteracts the latter. Although the academic strain and speech setback indicate some language impairment, it is proper to regard hem at a sub-disorder level (Stoke, 2010).

Reference List

BehaveNet clinical capsule. (1996-2010). APA diagnostic classification: DSM-IV TR. Retrieved March 03, 2011, from http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/dsm4TRclassification.htm

Chakravarty, A. (2009). Taare Zameen Par and dyslexic servants. Annals of Indian Academic Neurology, 12(2). pp. 99-103. Retrieved March 03, 2011, from Academic Search Complete database.

Chapman, K., Meyer, R.G. & Weaver, C.M. (2009). Case studies in abnormal psychology. New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon.

Clegg, J., Hollis, C., Mawhood, L. & Rutter, M. (2005). Developmental language disorders-a follow-up in later adult life. Cognitive, language, and psychosocial outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 46(2), pp.128-149. Retrieved March 03, 2011, from Academic Search Complete database.

Du Plessis, S. (2009). Einstein’s Learning Disability. Psychology articles. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from http://www.freepsychologyarticles.com/einsteins-learning-disability.html

Marlin, T. (2000). Albert Einstein and LD: An evaluation of the evidence. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(2), 149. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from Academic Search Complete database.

Stoke, C. (2010, March 23). Case study. Archive of college papers. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from http://stokercg2913.blogspot.com/2010/03/case-study-paper.html

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