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Child Care Health Dev. 2000 Sep;26(5):355-80.

Dyslexia: a developmental language disorder.

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Department of Human Communication Science, University College London, London, UK.


The acquisition of literacy in an alphabetic script such as English makes heavy demands on linguistic skills. The relation between spoken and written language however, is far from straightforward. This article reviews the research that suggests that phonological processing skills are crucial in the translation of symbols to sounds, and the development of rapid and automatic decoding skills. It examines research that indicates that children whose phonological processing skills are compromised in some way, are at-risk of experiencing difficulties in the acquisition of literacy; it supports the suggestion that dyslexia can be viewed as lying on the continuum of developmental language disorders. It goes on to relate theory to practice and discusses the responsibilities of health care professionals in relation to the early identification of dyslexia, and makes suggestions regarding intervention. In particular, it looks at the responsibilities of speech and language therapy services in the care and management of children with dyslexia.

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