Authors: Helle Fredslund Ottosen, Katrine H. Bønnerup, Ethan Weed & Rauno Parrila.

Article: Identifying dyslexia at the university: assessing phonological coding is not enough.

Publication: Annals of Dyslexia (Springer). Published: 10 March 2022 2022 | DOI: 10.1007/s11881-021-00247-9


A dyslexia diagnosis in Denmark can have significant consequences for individuals, as support is not available to others with reading difficulties. Currently, the diagnosis is given solely on the basis of an electronically administered test consisting of two tasks assessing grapheme-phoneme correspondences. To examine whether the Danish diagnostic test is sufficient to identify university students with dyslexia, we compared the performance of 239 Danish university students who reported literacy difficulties and were tested for dyslexia with the Danish diagnostic test on three word-level tests (low-frequency word reading, high-frequency word reading and spelling to dictation) with the performance of separate control groups for each test: 220, 212 and 218 students, respectively. The results showed that 61% of students labelled “not dyslexic” by the Danish diagnostic test performed significantly worse than controls on at least two out of three word-level tests. In terms of self-report of literacy difficulties, students labelled “not dyslexic” by the diagnostic test were indistinguishable from those labelled “dyslexic.” These findings suggest that the current method of diagnosing dyslexia in Denmark is too narrow and that adding a few simple tests of word reading and spelling would minimize the risk of overlooking students in need of literacy support.

Tagged as: adult dyslexia, diagnosis, and phonological processing


Ottosen, H.F., Bønnerup, K.H., Weed, E. et al. Identifying dyslexia at the university: assessing phonological coding is not enough. Ann. of Dyslexia (2022)

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