Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 54–66 | Cite as

The impact of an intensive multisensory reading program on a population of learning-disabled delinquents

  • Stephen B. Simpson
  • James M. Swanson
  • Ken Kunkel
Part I The Older Dyslexic


The high prevalence of learning disabilities in the juvenile delinquent population has been well documented, but attempts to remediate and have an impact on recidivism of this population of delinquents has produced limited results. The present study is a replication of the remediation phase of the 1976 LD/JD Project with methodological refinements to control for treatment integrity and strength of treatment. Delinquents in two detention facilities were screened for a developmental reading disorder. Subjects were selected for the study based on normal intelligence, full English proficiency, and a discrepancy of 15 points between reading achievement and IQ. Subjects in the treatment group received 90 minutes of remedial reading instruction per day using a multisensory (Orton/Gillingham) approach. A comparison group received 45 minutes of daily reading instruction in the regular classroom. There was no significant difference between the two groups in mean age of first arrest, mean age, and mean hours of reading instruction. Based on pre- and posttesting in reading and arrest records one year following release, the treatment group made significantly greater growth in reading (.33 year growth vs −.05 year growth per 10 hours of instruction) and had a significantly lower rate of recidivism (41 percent vs 63 percent) than the comparison group. Results were discussed in terms of hours of instruction necessary to improve reading, intervening treatment variables, and cost effectiveness of remedial program.


Learn Disability Dyslexia Reading Instruction Reading Achievement Remedial Instruction 
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Copyright information

© The Orton Dyslexia Society 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen B. Simpson
    • 1
  • James M. Swanson
    • 2
  • Ken Kunkel
    • 3
  1. 1.Orange County Department of EducationOrange County
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaIrvine
  3. 3.Tustin Unified School DistrictTustin

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