Developmental reading disorder

Definition

Developmental reading disorder is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols.

It is also called dyslexia.

Causes

Developmental reading disorder (DRD) or dyslexia occurs when there is a problem in areas of the brain that help interpret language. It is not caused by vision problems. The disorder is an information processing problem. It does not interfere with thinking ability. Most people with DRD have normal or above-average intelligence.

DRD may appear with other problems. These can include developmental writing disorder and developmental arithmetic disorder.

The condition often runs in families.

Symptoms

A person with DRD may have trouble rhyming and separating sounds that make up spoken words. These abilities affect learning to read. A child's early reading skills are based on word recognition. That involves being able to separate out the sounds in words and match them with letters and groups of letters.

People with DRD have trouble connecting the sounds of language to the letters of words. This may also create problems in understanding sentences.

True dyslexia is much broader than simply confusing or transposing letters. For example, mistaking a "b" and a "d."

In general, symptoms of DRD may include problems with:

Exams and Tests

It is important for a health care provider to rule out other causes of learning and reading disabilities, such as:

Before diagnosing DRD, the provider will:

Psychoeducational testing and psychological assessment may be done.

Treatment

A different approach is needed for each person with DRD. An individual education plan should be considered for each child with the condition.

The following may be recommended:

Positive reinforcement is important. Many students with learning disabilities have poor self-esteem. Psychological counseling may be helpful.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Specialized help (called remedial instruction) can help improve reading and comprehension.

Possible Complications

DRD may lead to:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if your child appears to be having trouble learning to read.

Prevention

Learning disorders tend to run in families. It is important to notice and recognize the warning signs. The earlier the disorder is discovered, the better the outcome.


Review Date: 3/6/2019
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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