• reading disabilities;
  • speech impairment;
  • language impairment;
  • specific language impairment;
  • literacy acquisition


Children with developmental speech/language impairments are at higher risk for reading disability than typical peers with no history of speech/language impairment. This article reviews the literacy outcomes of children with speech/language impairments, clarifying the differential risk for three groups of children: speech production impairments alone, oral language impairments alone, and speech production and oral language impairments. Children at greatest risk for reading and writing disabilities are children with language impairments alone and children with comorbid speech impairments and language impairments. For children with speech impairments alone, there is limited risk for literacy difficulties. However, even when reading skills are within the average range, children with speech impairments may have difficulties in spelling. Children with language impairments are likely to display reading deficits in word decoding and reading comprehension. It is not clear what role early literacy interventions play in the amelioration of reading difficulties in these populations. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc. MRDD Research Reviews 2004;10:176–183.