Description and prediction of reading decoding skills in Swedish children with Developmental Language Disorder

Nelli Kalnak, Birgitta Sahlén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Research is lacking in terms of reading decoding skills among clinical samples of Swedish-speaking children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Method: The present cross-sectional study included a sample of 61 children (8-12 years) with DLD attending school language units, years 1 to 5. Our purpose was to study reading decoding skills and predictors for decoding, such as a phonological processing skill (nonword repetition), working memory, and a family history of literacy problems. Results: The results on a combined measure of the word and nonword decoding indicated that only 18% of the children had age-adequate decoding skills. The proportion of age-adequate decoders did not change noticeably with the school year. The participants’ decoding skills showed larger deviations to test norm means with higher school years. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that the best predictors of decoding skills were measures of working memory and nonword repetition, followed by school year. These factors significantly contributed to the variance in decoding among our sample of children with DLD. A family history of literacy problems made no contribution to the variance. Conclusions: The findings emphasize the necessity of assessing and following up on literacy development in children with DLD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-91
JournalLogopedics Phoniatrics Vocology
Issue number2
Early online date2020 Nov 3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified

Free keywords

  • decoding skills
  • Developmental language disorder
  • family history
  • phonological processing
  • reading impairment
  • school year
  • working memory


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