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Predicting Dyslexia at Age 11 from a Risk Index Questionnaire at Age 5

Authors


Turid Helland, Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway. E-mail: turid.helland@psybp.uib.no

Abstract

This study focused on predicting dyslexia in children ahead of formal literacy training. Because dyslexia is a constitutional impairment, risk factors should be seen in preschool. It was hypothesized that data gathered at age 5 using questions targeting the dyslexia endophenotype should be reliable and valid predictors of dyslexia at age 11. A questionnaire was given to caretakers of 120 5-year-old children, and a risk index score was calculated based on questions regarding health, laterality, motor skills, language, special needs education and heredity. An at-risk group (n = 25) and matched controls (n = 24) were followed until age 11, when a similar questionnaire and literacy tests were administered to the children who participated in the follow-up study (22 at risk and 20 control). Half of the at-risk children and two of the control children at age 5 were identified as having dyslexia at age 11 (8 girls and 5 boys). It is concluded that it is possible to identify children at the age of 5 who will have dyslexia at the age of 11 through a questionnaire approach. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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