In DSM-III, this disorder is called Developmental Reading Disorder

Diagnostic Criteria

Performance on standardized, individually administered tests of reading skill is significantly below the expected level, given the individual's schooling, chronological age, and mental age (as determined by an individually administered IQ test). In addition, in school, the child's performance on tasks requiring reading skills is significantly below his or her intellectual capacity.

Differential Diagnosis

Mental Retardation

In Mental Retardation, reading difficulty is due to a general impairment in intellectual functioning. However, in some cases of Mild Mental Retardation, the reading level is significantly below the expected level, given the individual's schooling and level of retardation. In such cases the additional diagnosis of Developmental Reading Disorder should be made, since treatment of the reading difficulties can greatly increase occupational potential.

Inadequate schooling

Inadequate schooling can result in poor performance on standardized reading tests. In such cases, however, other children in the school will generally have similar difficulty.

Impaired vision or hearing

Impaired vision or hearing may affect reading ability, and can be ruled out with screening tests.


For more information, see Learning Disorders

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Reading achievement, as measured by individually administered standardized tests of reading accuracy or comprehension, is substantially below that expected given the person's chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education.

B. The disturbance in Criterion A significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require reading skills.

C. If a sensory deficit is present, the reading difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with it.

Note: If a general medical (e.g., neurological) condition or sensory deficit is present, record the condition.


See 'Specific Learning Disorder'

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