Children at family risk of dyslexia: A follow-up in adolescence

Department of Psychololgy, University of York, UK.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 06/2007; 48(6):609-18. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01725.x
Source: PubMed


This study is the follow-up in early adolescence of children born to families with a history of dyslexia (Gallagher, Frith, & Snowling, 2000).
Fifty young people with a family history of dyslexia and 20 young people from control families were assessed at 12-13 years on a battery of tests of literacy and language skills, and they completed questionnaires tapping self-perception and print exposure. One parent from each family participated in an interview documenting family circumstances (including family literacy) and a range of environmental variables considered likely correlates of reading disability. They also rated their child's behavioural and emotional adjustment and their own health and well-being. Parental literacy levels were also measured.
Forty-two per cent of the 'at-risk' sample had reading and spelling impairments. A significant proportion of the literacy-impaired group were affected by behavioural and emotional difficulties, although they were not low in terms of global self-esteem. The children in the at-risk subgroup who did not fulfil criteria for literacy impairment showed weak orthographic skills in adolescence and their reading was not fluent. There were no differences in the literacy levels or activities of the parents of impaired and unimpaired at-risk children, and no significant correlation between parent and child reading levels in the at-risk group. The impaired group read less than the other groups, their reading difficulties impacted learning at school and there was evidence that they also had an impact on family life and maternal well-being.
The literacy difficulties of children at family-risk of dyslexia were longstanding and there was no evidence of catch-up in these skills between 8 and 13 years. The findings point to the role of gene-environment correlation in the determination of dyslexia.

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    • "Few of these studies, however, assessed psychological variables of family well-being. Snowling et al. (2007), in a follow-up study on families at risk, observed that about 74% of them considered child's disorder to have negative— from moderate to severe—effects on family life, and that mothers reported high anxiety and/or depression levels (see Karande, Kumbhare, Kulkarni, & Shah, 2009, for similar results on anxiety symptoms). Mothers of children with LD have also been found to have higher level of avoidant coping than mothers of children with typical development (Al-Yagon, 2007; Margalit, Raviv, & Ankonina, 1992). "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite their ascertained neurobiological origin, specific learning disorders (SLD) often have been found to be associated with some emotional disturbances in children, and there is growing interest in the environmental and contextual variables that may modulate children's developmental trajectories. The present study was aimed at evaluating the psychological profile of parents and children and the relationships between their measures. Parents of children with SLD (17 couples, 34 participants) and parents of children with typical development (17 couples, 34 participants) were administered questionnaires assessing parenting styles, reading history, parenting stress, psychopathological indexes, and evaluations of children's anxiety and depression. Children (N = 34, 10.7 ± 1.2 years) were assessed with self-evaluation questionnaires on anxiety, depression, and self-esteem and with a scale assessing their perception of parents' qualities. Results showed that parents of children with SLD have higher parental distress, poorer reading history, and different parenting styles compared to parents of children with TD; there were no differences in psychopathological indexes. The SLD group also rated their children as more anxious and depressed. Children with SLD had lower scholastic and interpersonal self-esteem, but they report ratings of parents' qualities similar to those of TD children. Relationships between parents' and children's measures were further explored. Implications for research and practice are discussed. © Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2015.
    Journal of Learning Disabilities 01/2015; DOI:10.1177/0022219414566681 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    • "In order to reflect intersulcal relationships and to find atypical global pattern of primary sulci, we had to combine the 2 regions in the current study which may have canceled out these effects. It is important to note that only approximately 50% of children with a first-degree relative with reading difficulties will eventually develop difficulties (Snowling et al. 2007). The correlations between atypical sulcal patterns and pre-reading language scores observed in FHD+ children are presumably weakened by the children who develop to be typical readers, which may result in no statistical significance. "
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental dyslexia (DD) is highly heritable and previous studies observed reduced cortical volume, white matter integrity, and functional alterations in left posterior brain regions in individuals with DD. The primary sulcal pattern has been hypothesized to relate to optimal organization and connections of cortical functional areas. It is determined during prenatal development and may reflect early, genetically influenced, brain development. We characterize the sulcal pattern using graph-based pattern analysis and investigate whether sulcal patterns in parieto-temporal and occipito-temporal regions are atypical in elementary school-age children with DD and pre-readers/beginning readers (preschoolers/kindergarteners) with a familial risk (elementary school-age children: n [males/females], age range = 17/11, 84-155 months; preschoolers/kindergarteners: 16/15, 59-84 months). The pattern of sulcal basin area in left parieto-temporal and occipito-temporal regions was significantly atypical (more sulcal basins of smaller size) in children with DD and further correlated with reduced reading performance on single- and nonword reading measures. A significantly atypical sulcal area pattern was also confirmed in younger preschoolers/kindergarteners with a familial risk of DD. Our results provide further support for atypical early brain development in DD and suggest that DD may originate from altered organization or connections of cortical areas in the left posterior regions. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:
    Cerebral Cortex 01/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhu305 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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    • "The percentage of poor readers in the FR group matches those found in other Dutch studies (e.g. de Bree et al. 2010; van Bergen et al. 2012) as well as the international literature (e.g. Scarborough 1990; Snowling et al. 2007). The percentage of poor readers in the SLI group is lower than often reported in the literature (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: In light of the striking overlap in symptoms, it has been proposed that SLI and dyslexia reflect the same underlying disorder, differing only in severity. An alternative view is that SLI and dyslexia overlap (only) partially, sharing some risk factors, and differing on various others. We will address this debate by presenting results from longitudinal studies of children at familial risk of dyslexia and children with SLI. We focus on two experimental tasks conducted with preschool children, assessing morphosyntactic ability and phonological processing. The performances of each group were compared and related to language and literacy profiles established at age 8. The results agree most with the hypothesis that SLI and dyslexia share risk factors, but are not fully overlapping.
    Specific Language Impairment. Current trends in research, LALD 58 edited by Stavroula Stavrakaki, 01/2015: chapter Comparing SLI and Dyslexia: Developmental language profiles and reading outcomes: pages 89-112; John Benjamins.
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