Early language development in children with a genetic risk of dyslexia

Petra van Alphen, Elise de Bree, Ellen Gerrits, Jan de Jong, Carien Wilsenach, Frank Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We report on a prospective longitudinal research programme exploring the connection between language acquisition deficits and dyslexia. The language development profile of children at-risk for dyslexia is compared to that of age-matched controls as well as of children who have been diagnosed with specific language impairment (SLI). The experiments described concern the perception and production of grammatical morphology, categorical perception of speech sounds, phonological processing (non-word repetition), mispronunciation detection, and rhyme detection. The results of each of these indicate that the at-risk children as a group underperform in comparison to the controls, and that, in most cases, they approach the SLI group. It can be concluded that dyslexia most likely has precursors in language development, also in domains other than those traditionally considered conditional for the acquisition of literacy skills. The dyslexia-SLI connection awaits further, particularly qualitative, analyses. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-288
Number of pages24
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2004


  • At-risk populations
  • Grammar
  • Language disorders
  • Morphology
  • Phonology
  • Reading disabilities
  • article
  • childhood disease
  • controlled study
  • disease association
  • dyslexia
  • experimentation
  • functional morphology
  • genetic risk
  • hearing
  • human
  • infant
  • language development
  • language disability
  • longitudinal study
  • major clinical study
  • medical research
  • phonetics
  • preschool child
  • prospective study
  • reading
  • skill
  • speech articulation
  • speech discrimination
  • speech perception


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