Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 1389–1401 | Cite as

Late-Emerging and Resolving Dyslexia: A Follow-Up Study from Age 3 to 14

  • Minna TorppaEmail author
  • Kenneth Eklund
  • Elsje van Bergen
  • Heikki Lyytinen


This study focuses on the stability of dyslexia status from Grade 2 to Grade 8 in four groups: (a) no dyslexia in either grade (no-dyslexia, n = 127); (b) no dyslexia in Grade 2 but dyslexia in Grade 8 (late-emerging, n = 18); (c) dyslexia in Grade 2 but not in Grade 8 (resolving, n = 15); and (d) dyslexia in both grades (persistent-dyslexia, n = 22). We examined group differences from age 3.5 to age 14 in (a) reading, vocabulary, phonology, letter knowledge, rapid naming, IQ, verbal memory; (b) familial and environmental risk and supportive factors; and (c) parental skills in reading, phonology, rapid naming, verbal memory, and vocabulary. Our findings showed group differences both in reading and cognitive skills of children as well as their parents. Parental education, book-reading frequency, and children’s IQ, however, did not differentiate the groups. The children in the persistent-dyslexia group exhibited widespread language and cognitive deficits across development. Those in the resolving group had problems in language and cognitive skills only prior to school entry. In the late-emerging group, children showed clearly compromised rapid naming. Additionally, their parents had the most severe difficulties in rapid naming, a finding that suggests strong genetic liability. The findings show instability in the diagnosis of dyslexia. The members of the late-emerging group did not have a distinct early cognitive profile, so late-emerging dyslexia appears difficult to predict. Indeed, these children are at risk of not being identified and not receiving required support. This study suggests the need for continued monitoring of children’s progress in literacy after the early school years.


Early identification Family risk for dyslexia Late-emerging dyslexia Reading disabilities Dyslexia 



This research has been supported by several funding agencies over the years. The current funding comes from the Academy of Finland (projects #264264 and #276239). Elsje van Bergen’s work was supported by a Rubicon Fellowship (446-12-005) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and a Junior Research Fellowship at Oriel College, Oxford. Funding sources have had no role in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication. We want to express our gratitude to all the families, children, teachers, schools, and researchers who have participated in this study. Many thanks also to Professor Asko Tolvanen for statistical assistance and Matthew Wuethrich for the language proofing of this manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10802_2015_3_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minna Torppa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenneth Eklund
    • 1
  • Elsje van Bergen
    • 2
  • Heikki Lyytinen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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