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Dyslexia in Children and Adolescents – Tests and Interventions

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SBU Assessment

Presents a comprehensive, systematic assessment of available scientific evidence for effects on health, social welfare or disability. Full assessments include economic, social and ethical impact analyses. Assessment teams include professional practitioners and academics. Before publication the report is reviewed by external experts, and scientific conclusions approved by the SBU Board of Directors.


  • By training children with dyslexia to associate speech sounds (phonemes) with letters (graphemes) in a structured way, improvements can be made in their reading comprehension, reading speed, spelling, and ability to pay attention to the language’s phonetic structure (phonological awareness).
  • Due to insufficient evidence no conclusions could be drawn regarding the usefulness of other forms of literacy training or assistive technologies (tools for support, compensate and develop reading skills such as apps in the mobile phone).
  • Some tests may predict dyslexia even before children have been formally taught to read and write in school. For instance, rapid automatized naming (RAN), deficits in phonological awareness or letter knowledge can be detected early and may be associated with dyslexia. Benefits and potential risks of such early testing procedures have not been evaluated in this report. Interventions for children before they have begun school have not been evaluated in this report.
  • Only few of the international diagnostic tests were scientifically evaluated. Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement (WJ) have subtests that are reliable: DIBELSLetter Naming Fluency and WJ- Word Identification/Letter-Word Identification, respectively DIBELS- Nonsense Word Fluency and WJ- Letter Word Identification/comprehension are validated.

How to cite this report: SBU. Dyslexia in children and adolescents – tests and interventions. Stockholm: Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU); 2014. SBU report no 225 (in Swedish).

Published: Report no: 225

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