The primary characteristics of dyslexic children

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Two studies were designed to test the common assumption that children with development dyslexia exhibit reading and spelling processes that are essentially different from those of normal readers. The first study examined the reading and spelling processes of dyslexic children and of normal readers/spellers who were matched with the dyslexic children on the basis of reading and spelling levels. The normal control children were three years younger than the dyslexic children. The second study compared the comprehension processes of dyslexic children and age-matched good readers. The results of the two studies were highly consistent. In general, the dyslexic children used the same basic mechanisms to read and spell as the normally achieving control groups. It is argued that dyslexic children do not exhibit idiosyncratic processes for reading and spelling and thus diagnoses of dyslexia cannot be made on the basis of qualitative analysis of performance on reading and spelling tasks. The major distinguishing feature of children with diagnoses of dyslexia is the unexpected nature of their reading/spelling failure, giving their good intelligence, and the absence of other extrinsic factors that might be associated with reading failure. The implications of these data for the treatment of dyslexic children and their families are discussed in terms of this distinguishing feature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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