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Is There a Distinct Form of Developmental Dyslexia in Children With Specific Language Impairment?: Findings From an Orthographically Regular Language

Scuccimarra, Goffredo MD*; Cutolo, Luisa MD; Fiorillo, Pasquale MD; Lembo, Carla MD; Pirone, Teresa MD; Cossu, Giuseppe MD§

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: December 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 221-226
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e31818a5caf
Original Studies

Objectives The aim of this study was to identify quantitative and qualitative differences between the reading and writing skills of children with developmental dyslexia and those of dyslexic children with a specific language impairment (SLI).

Background It is suggested that although the etiology of developmental dyslexia and SLI may be diverse, dyslexic children with SLI and their language-intact peers are comparable on a behavioral level.

Methods Three groups of second-grade children were compared on reading and writing tests with single words and nonwords: 15 dyslexic children with a history of SLI (SLI group), 15 dyslexic children with a typical pattern of language development (non-SLI group), and a control group of 30 children with no clinical history of learning disabilities or communication disorders.

Results Analysis of the results revealed the performances of both SLI and non-SLI dyslexic groups to be comparable in terms of speed, accuracy, and error typology.

Conclusions This study confirms that there are parallels between dyslexic children with language disorders and their dyslexic peers with intact language skills, at least in terms of their performance on reading and writing tests.

*Fondazione Istituto Antoniano

Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli

Azienda Sanitaria Locale, Napoli 5

§Università degli Studi di Parma, Parma, Italy

Reprints: Goffredo Scuccimarra, MD, Fondazione Istituto Antoniano, Via Madonnelle 15, 80056-Ercolano, NA, Italy (e-mail:

Received for publication January 8, 2008; accepted July 13, 2008

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.