Are predictors of reading impairment in isolated cleft similar to those in idiopathic dyslexia?

  • Amy Lynn ConradEmail author


Children with isolated cleft of the lip and/or palate (iCL/P) are at increased risk for reading impairment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of early risk factors (hearing, speech, and early literacy) on reading performance compared to unaffected participants with average (uAR) and impaired (uIR) reading. Reading achievement and early literacy skills were evaluated across three groups (27 iCL/P, 32 uAR, and 33 uIR). All participants were males, ages 8–11 years old. Those with history of head trauma/injury or major medical/mental health conditions were excluded. Group differences in achievement and early literacy skills were evaluated with ANCOVAs. Participants with impaired reading achievement (at or below 25th Percentile) were identified. Medical record reviews for participates with iCL/P were conducted and audiology and speech ratings recorded. Correlations were calculated between achievement, early literacy, hearing, and speech. Participants with iCL/P had significantly elevated risk for reading impairment (37%); this risk differed by cleft type (0% iCL, 55% iCLP, and 60% iCP). Achievement for participants with iCP was similar to the uIR group. Early literacy risk resulted in lower achievement scores for both iCL/P and unaffected participants. History of inadequate hearing and speech did not significantly impact early literacy or achievement measures. There is a high risk of reading impairment for children with iCL/P—highest for those with iCLP and iCP. Early literacy predictors of reading outcome are similar for iCL/P and idiopathic dyslexia. Current screening and intervention methods are supported.


Cleft Dyslexia Hearing Speech 



The author would like to acknowledge the contributions of Ian DeVolder, PhD and Emily Kuhlmann, BA in data collection as well as Scott Dailey, PhD in guidance with speech data collection and analysis. Thank-you to the chapter leaders at Decoding Dyslexia and the International Dyslexia Association who made recruitment so successful. Finally, thank-you to the families who participated in this study; their time and effort is greatly appreciated.

Funding Source

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (award number DE024511) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (award number UL1TR002537).


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Iowa Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA

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