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Reading Disorder

What is a reading disorder?

Students with this learning disorder have a problem with their reading skills. Their reading skills are significantly below what is normal considering the student's age, intelligence, and education. The poor reading skills cause problems with the student's academic success and/or other important areas in life.

What signs are associated with a reading disorder?

Signs associated with reading disorder include:

  • poor recognition of the written word
  • very slow oral reading
  • many mistakes in oral reading
  • very poor comprehension of what has been read

Students who suffer from this kind of learning disorder frequently have:

  • low self-esteem
  • social problems
  • increased dropout rate at school

Reading disorders may also be associated with:

  • conduct disorder
  • ADHD and ADD
  • depression
  • other learning disorders

Are there genetic factors associated with a reading disorder?

Reading disorders tend to show up more in certain families.

At what age does a reading disorder appear?

Reading disorder is usually brought to the attention of the child's parents in kindergarten or first grade when reading instruction becomes a very important part of the classroom teaching.

How often is a reading disorder seen in our society?

Although it is difficult to determine exactly, at least five percent (5%) of children in the United States suffer from a reading disorder.

How is a reading disorder diagnosed?

The person with normal intelligence demonstrates poor reading skills and no other neurological, visual, or hearing problems. Some children with very high intelligence may not have a reading disorder discovered until later in elementary school.

Because standardized group testing is not accurate enough to diagnose this disorder, it is very important that the individual be given special psychoeducational tests to determine if a learning disorder is present. Special attention must be given to the child's ethnic and cultural background by the student's examiner.

How is a reading disorder treated?

The treatment for reading disorder mainly involves putting the student into a program with an emphasis on remedial or corrective reading instruction. Usually the extra help in reading is supplied to the student through reading resource classrooms in school, small class size, or individual tutoring.

What happens to someone with a reading disorder?

With or without treatment, the reading disorder will gradually improve. However, even when good help is available to the student, the person may have chronic problems with reading. Students with high intelligence tend to improve the most.

What can people do if they need help?

If you, a friend, or a family member would like more information and you have a therapist or a physician, please discuss your concerns with that person.

Developed by John L. Miller, MD

Reviewed by athealth on February 7, 2014.