, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 184-220

The development of children at familial risk for dyslexia: Birth to early school age

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Children at risk for familial dyslexia (n=107) and their controls (n=93) have been followed from birth to school entry in the Jyväskylä Longitudinal study of Dyslexia (JLD) on developmental factors linked to reading and dyslexia. At the point of school entry, the majority of the at-risk children displayed decoding ability that fell at least 1 SD below the mean of the control group. Measures of speech processing were the earliest indices to show both group differences in infancy and also significant predictive associations with reading acquisition. A number of measures of language, including phonological and morphological skill collected repeatedly from age three, revealed group differences and predictive correlations. Both the group differences and the predictive associations to later language and reading ability strengthened as a function of increasing age. The predictions, however, tend to be stronger and the spectrum of significant correlations wider in the at-risk group. These results are crucial to early identification and intervention of dyslexia in at-risk children.