Supporting medical students with learning disabilities in Asian medical schools
Md. Anwarul Azim Majumder1, Sayeeda Rahman2, Urban JA D’Souza3, Gad Elbeheri4, Khalid Bin Abdulrahman5, M Muzaherul Huq6
1,2Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, Bradford, UK; 3School of Medicine, University Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; 4Centre for Child Evaluation and Teaching, Kuwait; 5College of Medicine, Al-Imam University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 6Centre for Medical Education (CME), Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Abstract: Learning disabilities (LDs) represent the largest group of disabilities in higher education (HE) institutes, including medical schools, and the numbers are continuing to rise. The worrying concern is that two-thirds to half of these students with LDs remain undiagnosed when they start their undergraduate education and may even graduate without having their disabilities diagnosed. These students struggle with their academic abilities, receive poor grades and, as a result, develop lower perceptions of their intellectual abilities than do those students without LDs. All these ultimately hamper their professional practice, employment, and career progression. Appropriate and adequate educational policies, provisions, and practices help students to progress satisfactorily. In Asian countries, public and professional awareness about LDs is low, supportive provisions are limited, legislations are inadequate, data are scarce, and equal-opportunity/widening-participation policies are not implemented effectively in the HE sector. This article discusses the issues related to LDs in medical education and draws policy, provision, and practice implications to identify, assess, and support students with LDs in medical schools, particularly in an Asian context.
Keywords: medical education, learning disabilities, dyslexia, Asia
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