Reading and Writing

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 1529–1545 | Cite as

Dyslexia heterogeneity: cognitive profiling of Portuguese children with dyslexia

  • Andreia Pacheco
  • Alexandra Reis
  • Susana Araújo
  • Filomena Inácio
  • Karl Magnus Petersson
  • Luís Faísca


Recent studies have emphasized that developmental dyslexia is a multiple-deficit disorder, in contrast to the traditional single-deficit view. In this context, cognitive profiling of children with dyslexia may be a relevant contribution to this unresolved discussion. The aim of this study was to profile 36 Portuguese children with dyslexia from the 2nd to 5th grade. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to group participants according to their phonological awareness, rapid automatized naming, verbal short-term memory, vocabulary, and nonverbal intelligence abilities. The results suggested a two-cluster solution: a group with poorer performance on phoneme deletion and rapid automatized naming compared with the remaining variables (Cluster 1) and a group characterized by underperforming on the variables most related to phonological processing (phoneme deletion and digit span), but not on rapid automatized naming (Cluster 2). Overall, the results seem more consistent with a hybrid perspective, such as that proposed by Pennington and colleagues (2012), for understanding the heterogeneity of dyslexia. The importance of characterizing the profiles of individuals with dyslexia becomes clear within the context of constructing remediation programs that are specifically targeted and are more effective in terms of intervention outcome.


Reading disorders Dyslexia Profile analysis Portuguese orthography 



This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/27337/2006; PTDC/PSI/110734/2009; IBB/CBME, LA, FEDER/POCI2010; PEst-OE/EQB/LA0023/2013), the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Dyslexia Foundation.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 49 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreia Pacheco
    • 1
  • Alexandra Reis
    • 1
  • Susana Araújo
    • 1
  • Filomena Inácio
    • 1
  • Karl Magnus Petersson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Luís Faísca
    • 1
  1. 1.Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Centre for Molecular and Structural Biomedicine, CBME/IBB, LAUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for PsycholinguisticsNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and BehaviourRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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