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    Developmental reading disorder


    Developmental reading disorder isa reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols.

    It is also called dyslexia.


    Developmental reading disorder (DRD), or dyslexia, occurs when there is a problem in areas of the brain that help interpret language. It is not caused by vision problems. The disorder is a specific information processing problem. Itdoes not interfere with one's ability to think or to understand complex ideas. Most people with DRD have normal intelligence. Many have above-average intelligence.

    DRD may appear with developmental writing disorder and developmental arithmetic disorder.

    The condition often runs in families.


    A person with DRD may have trouble rhyming and separating sounds that make up spoken words. These abilities seem to be important inlearning to read. A child'searly reading skills are based on word recognition. That involves being able to separate out the sounds in words and match them with letters and groups of letters.

    Because people with DRD have difficulty connecting the sounds of language to the letters of words. They may have difficulty understanding sentences.

    True dyslexia is much broader than simply confusing or transposing letters. For example, mistaking ”b” and “d."

    In general, symptoms of DRD may include:

    • Difficulty determining the meaningof a simple sentence
    • Difficulty learning to recognize written words
    • Difficulty rhyming

    Exams and Tests

    It is important for a doctor to rule out other causes of learning disabilities, especially reading disability. Emotional disorders, intellectual disability, brain diseases, and certain cultural and education factors can cause learning disabilities.

    Before diagnosing DRD, the health care provider will:

    • Perform a complete medical exam, including a neurological exam
    • Ask questions about the person's developmental, social, and school performance
    • Ask if anyone else in the family has had dyslexia

    Psychoeducational testing and psychological assessment may be done.


    Every person with DRD requires a different strategy. An individual education plan should be created for each child with the condition.

    The following may be recommended:

    • Extra learning assistance, called remedial instruction
    • Private, individual tutoring
    • Special day classes

    Positive reinforcement is important as many students with learning disabilities have poor self-esteem. Psychological counseling may be helpful.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Specialized help (called remedial instruction) can help a person make big improvements in reading and comprehension.

    Possible Complications

    DRD may lead to:

    • Problems in school, including behavior problems
    • Loss of self-esteem
    • Reading problems that continue, which may affect job performance

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if your child appears to be having trouble learning to read.


    Learning disorders tend to run in families.It is important to notice and recognize the warning signs. The earlier the disorder is discovered, the better the outcome.


          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Developmental reading disorder

                Review Date: 1/4/2013

                Reviewed By: John Goldenring, MD, MPH, JD, Pediatrics, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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