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Keywords:

  • dyslexia;
  • reading difficulties;
  • adolescence and Chinese language

Abstract

The present study sought to identify cognitive abilities that might distinguish Hong Kong Chinese adolescents with and without dyslexia and examined the cognitive profile of dyslexic adolescents in order to better understand this important problem. The performance of 27 Chinese adolescents with childhood diagnoses of dyslexia was compared with 27 adolescents of the same chronological age (CA) and 27 of matched reading level (RL) on measures of literacy and cognitive abilities: Chinese word reading, one-minute reading, reading comprehension, dictation, verbal short-term memory, rapid naming, visual-orthographic knowledge, morphological and phonological awareness. The results indicated that the dyslexic group scored lower than the CA group, but similar to the RL group, especially in the areas of rapid naming, visual-orthographic knowledge and morphological awareness, with over half having multiple deficits exhibited 2 or more cognitive areas. Furthermore, the number of cognitive deficits was associated with the degree of reading and spelling impairment. These findings suggest that adolescents with childhood diagnoses of dyslexia have persistent literacy difficulties and seem to have multiple causes for reading difficulties in Chinese. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.