Definition of Developmental reading disorder
Developmental reading disorder, also called dyslexia, is a reading disability resulting from the inability to process graphic symbols.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Developmental reading disorder (DRD) is not caused by vision problems, but rather by problems with the brain’s ability to recognize and process symbols. Children with DRD may have trouble rhyming and separating the sounds in spoken words. These abilities appear to be critical in the process of learning to read.
Signs and tests
The first step is to perform a complete medical (both physical and neurologic), developmental, social, school performance, and family history. These may be followed by psychoeducational testing and psychological assessment. Other causes of learning disabilities will need to be ruled out before the diagnosis of DRD can be confirmed.
Special education services may include specialist help, individualized tutoring, or special day classes. Every individual has different requirements and an Individual Education Plan should be created for each child. Positive reinforcement is important as many students with learning disabilities have poor self-esteem. Psychological counseling may be helpful.
Extra help (remedial instruction) can lead to marked improvement in reading and understanding. Difficulties with reading may be lifelong, however.
Daniel Rauch, MD, FAAP. Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/15/2008