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Dyslexic, delayed, precocious or just normal? Word reading skills of children with autism spectrum disorders


Address for correspondence: Jakob Åsberg, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Box 500, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. E-mail:


Word reading skills and reading-related language and cognitive correlates were examined in Swedish 10–15-year-olds with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The full group with ASD did not differ statistically from an age-matched comparison group in word reading, but a poor-readers subgroup was identified who displayed severe difficulties. Normal readers with ASD did not differ from the comparison group in nonverbal ability, phonological processing, rapid naming or receptive vocabulary. The poor subgroup performed, however, below on all measures except nonverbal ability. When poor readers with ASD were matched for reading level with younger controls, no difference was found on any reading-related skill. No significant correlation was furthermore found between autistic symptomatology and word reading within the ASD group. It is concluded that the pattern of individual differences in word reading among children with ASD conforms well to that seen in children without ASD of normal or delayed reading abilities.

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