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Reading difficulties in children

Abstract

Reading difficulties in children may represent one facet of general intellectual backwardness, often first recognised by delay in passing milestones including speech. Other forms of reading retardation may be due to defects of vision, or hearing or to brain damage. Some children have specific difficulties in learning to read without any other abnormalities of intellect, though it is debatable whether dyslexia (a ‘specific syndrome wherein particular difficulty exists in learning the conventional meaning of verbal symbols, and of associating the sound with symbol in appropriate fashion’1) should be separated from other reading difficulties that may present similarly.2 Unless treated it may persist throughout childhood and is often familial.3 It is more common in boys than girls. It is occasionally associated with general clumsiness, but quite often with confusion in right-left differentiation in copying shapes and in spelling. Emotional disturbances, slow comprehension, lack of motivation, social deprivation and poor or interrupted schooling may also result in backwardness in reading.

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