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Cognition. 1993 May;47(2):149-80.

Varieties of developmental dyslexia.

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School of Behavioral Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia.


This paper reviews and evaluates the evidence for the existence of distinct varieties of developmental dyslexia, analogous to those found in the acquired dyslexic population. Models of the normal adult reading process and of the development of reading in children are used to provide a framework for considering the issues. Data from a large-sample study of the reading patterns of developmental dyslexics are then reported. The lexical and sublexical reading skills of 56 developmental dyslexics were assessed through close comparison with the skills of 56 normally developing readers. The results indicate that there are at least two varieties of developmental dyslexia, the first of which is characterised by a specific difficulty using the lexical procedure, and the second by a difficulty using the sublexical procedure. These subtypes are apparently not rare, but are relatively prevalent in the developmental dyslexic population. The results of a second experiment, which suggest that neither of these reading patterns can be accounted for in terms of a general language disorder, are then reported.

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