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APD and Dyslexia

The diagnosis of dyslexia is usually not made until a child has failed to acquire normal reading skills in the third grade. The diagnosis is usually based on low reading performance, especially in the decoding tasks that are part of reading unfamiliar words with regular pronunciation. In addition, it must be established that the child has normal intelligence and has been provided with adequate resources and opportunities to learn to read. Because the reading deficit is so often linked to an inability to sound out unfamiliar words, it has been thought that the problem may stem from a more basic deficit in the processing of the sound units that make up words.

Because some of those sound processing deficits can be assessed earlier than the third grade, many clinicians are now trying to determine at earlier ages which children may be at greater risk for being diagnosed as dyslexia later in school. If your child has difficulties with the sounds that make up words, he may have already been diagnosed with a phonologic awareness or phonologic processing deficit. Many children with phonologic awareness deficits on speech and language testing will also demonstrate auditory processing deficits when tested by an audiologist. When put all together, all of this means that a child diagnosed with an auditory processing deficit may be at risk for later being diagnosed with dyslexia, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee that a reading disorder will result. For some children, a failure to process sounds appropriately may represent a developmental delay that they are able to outgrow as they mature.

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