We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Reading Disorder FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2004;291(16):2040. doi:10.1001/jama.291.16.2040.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

As many as 15% of school-aged children have a learning disability. One of those learning disabilities is reading disorder, also known as dyslexia. In this disorder, reading achievement is substantially below what would be expected for the person's age, intelligence, and educational level. Many areas of the brain are involved in reading. Abnormalities in processing in these brain areas are associated with having dyslexia. It appears that persons who have dyslexia have difficulty processing sound-based components of language. They have difficulty associating symbols (such as letters) with the sounds that these symbols have.

Dyslexia does not affect thinking ability. Persons who have dyslexia are often creative in learning to compensate for their disability.

Reading difficulties may also arise from poor vision, decreased hearing ability, emotional problems, or behavioral disorders. Behavioral disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may also coexist with learning disorders.

The April 28, 2004, issue of JAMA includes an article showing that reading difficulties are more common in boys than in girls.


Testing for dyslexia should be performed only by trained individuals. These specialists may be available through the school or from the community or a university-based program. Formal testing for dyslexia includes assessment of intellectual (thinking) abilities, information processing, and academic skills. Children may also receive evaluation of their sensory capabilities, such as hearing or vision testing.


Early identification of learning disabilities can help children to achieve success in learning environments. Some strategies that can help individuals with reading disorder include

  • Approaches to teaching that include audio-based instruction (audiotapes, audio texts), computer-assisted instruction, structured teaching including repetition and small-unit instruction, flashcards, and optimum position of the child in the classroom.

  • Identification, evaluation, and treatment of behavioral or psychiatric problems that can coexist with learning disabilities.

  • Alternative assessment measures (using different types of testing than traditional written tests).

  • Assistance with emotional issues (such as self-esteem) that may accompany learning disabilities.

  • Special education, if needed, though some experts advocate keeping children with dyslexia in the regular classroom.

  • A strong support system for the child and family, possibly including referral to appropriate resources within the community.



To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. A Patient Page on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder was published in the October 9, 2002, issue.

Sources: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; International Dyslexia Association; Nemours Foundation

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. Any other print or online reproduction is subject to AMA approval. To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles