Prevention of marginalisation due to non-specific learning disabilities

The Niilo Mäki Institute and FAIDD carried out in cooperation in 2004-2006 a project on non-specific learning disabilities. Non-specific learning disabilities refer to hard-to-define learning difficulties and cognitive and functional limitations which make it difficult for individuals to do well at school subjects and also to cope in later stages of life. This involves a strong risk of marginalisation.

General objectives

  1. To compile research data on the special features, problems and life situations of young people and adults with non-specific learning disabilities, and on their need for support and rehabilitation services.
  2. To compile suggestions for operating models to help this client group and to create conditions for the testing of target-oriented strategies in cooperation with networks of public authorities.
  3. To increase general awareness and interest in order to develop services required by the target group.

Operative objectives

  1. To compile the existing research data into a comprehensive body and to prepare a literature overview.
  2. To research the special features of learning and coping among students with non-specific learning disabilities, with eighth-graders in comprehensive school as the target group.
  3. To develop and test operating models in order to guide these students into life after comprehensive school.
  4. To research the coping and life courses of young adults with non-specific learning disabilities after comprehensive school.
  5. To produce education and information material.

Research publications

  • Leskelä-Ranta, Anna-Elina (2011). Laaja-alaiset oppimisvaikeudet ja elämänkulun kertomukset  (Non-Specific Learning Disabilities and Life Course Stories). Licentiate thesis. University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Psychology. – 66 pp.
  • Leila Lammi-Hiltunen (2010). Laaja-alaiset oppimisvaikeudet työrajoitteena työklinikka-asiakkailla ( (Non-Specific Learning Disabilities as a Limitation of Work for the Customers of Work Clinics). Licentiate thesis. University of Tampere, Education Program of Neuropsychology. – 46 s.
  • Vesa Närhi, Heikki Seppälä, Pekka Kuikka (eds.). (2010). Laaja-alaiset oppimisvaikeudet. (Non-Specific Learning disabilities). Niilo Mäki Institute. – 195 pp. Published in Finnish.
  • H. Kortteinen, V. Närhi & T. Ahonen (2009). Does IQ matter in adolescents´ reading disability? Learning and individual differences 19:2, 257–261.
  • Petra Hautamäki (2008). Heikon koulumenestyksen varhainen tunnistaminen: haaste koulupsykologille ( (Identification of Poor School Performance: Challenge to the School Psychology). Licentiate thesis. University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Psychology. – 55 pp.
  • Hannu Nikkanen, Heli Numminen, Vesa Närhi, Anna-Elina Leskelä-Ranta, Heikki Seppälä, Timo Ahonen (2005). Laaja-alaiset oppimisvaikeudet: teoriaa ja pohdintaa. (Non-Specific Learning Disabilities: theories and perspectives. NMI-Bulletin 15:3, 21–26. Published in Finnish.

Updated: 10-Oct-2013

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