Authors: Ann W. Alexander; Anne-Marie Slinger-Constant..

Article: Current status of treatments for dyslexia: critical review.

Publication: J Child Neurology 19(10):744-58 2004 | DOI: 10.1177/08830738040190100401

The acquisition of reading is a complex neurobiologic process. Identifying the most effective instruction and remedial intervention methods for children at risk of developing reading problems and for those who are already struggling is equally complex. This article aims to provide the clinician with a review of more current findings on the prevention and remediation of reading problems in children, along with an approach to considering the diagnosis and treatment of a child with dyslexia. The first part of the review describes interventions targeted at preventing reading difficulties in the at-risk younger child. The second part of the review discusses the efficacy of approaches to treat the older, reading-disabled child (“intervention studies”). Factors that impact the response to treatment are also discussed, as are neuroimaging studies that offer insight into how the brain responds to treatment interventions. With appropriate instruction, at-risk readers can become both accurate and fluent readers. In contrast, although intensive, evidence-based remedial interventions can markedly improve reading accuracy in older, reading-disabled children, they have been significantly less effective in closing the fluency gap. Owing to the dynamic course of language development and the changes in language demands over time, even after a child has demonstrated a substantial response to treatment interventions, his or her subsequent progress should be carefully tracked to ensure optimal progress toward the development of functional reading and written language skills.

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