Disentangling dyslexia from typical L2-learning in emergent literacy
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionDyslexia. 2023. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1753
The present paper assessed how dyslexia can be identified in school children with another language than their first language. Participants were school children with Norwegian as their second language (L2), and two groups of children with Norwegian as their first language (L1): a control group (L1-Con), and a dyslexia group (L1-Dys). All were 2nd and 3rd graders who had attended Norwegian schools from 1st grade on. None of the individuals in L1-Con or the L2 group were identified with any learning disability. However, slow literacy progress was seen in some L2-children. The children were tested individually within the symptomatic and cognitive levels. Results were analysed in two steps: (1) group comparisons; (2) L2 individual profiles and tentative L2 subgrouping. An unexpected L2 profile showed language scores below norm, coupled with some scores within and some scores above norm within the cognitive domain. Case assessment of the L2 group resulted in three subgroups: one comparable to L1-Con, one comparable to L1-Dys, and one with a result in between these two groups. Low linguistic scores cannot be considered valid markers of dyslexia in L2. Within the cognitive domain, a variety of low scores can indicate dyslexia, while high scores can be compensatory.