On the 'specifics' of specific reading disability and specific language impairment

G. M. McArthur, J. H. Hogben, V. T. Edwards, S. M. Heath, E. D. Mengler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

353 Citations (Scopus)


The reading and oral language scores of 110 children with a specific reading disability (SRD) and 102 children with a specific language impairment (SLI) indicated that approximately 53% of children with an SRD and children with an SLI could be equally classified as having an SRD or an SLI, 55% of children with an SRD have impaired oral language, and 51% of children with an SLI have a reading disability. Finding that a large percentage of children can be equally classified as SRD or SLI has repercussions for the criteria used to define an SRD, for conceptualising subgroups of learning disability, and for estimates of the incidence of SRD. Further, it highlights the need for future studies to assess both the reading and oral language abilities of SRD and SLI participants to determine how specifically impaired and homogeneous samples really are.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-874
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Oral language
  • Reading
  • Specific language impairment
  • Specific reading disability


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