Profiling the word reading abilities of school-age children with neurofibromatosis type 1

Shelley S. Arnold, Jonathan M. Payne, Genevieve McArthur, Kathryn N. North, Belinda Barton

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Reading difficulties are one of the most significant challenges for children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The aims of this study were to identify and categorize the types of reading impairments experienced by children with NF1 and to establish predictors of poor reading in this population.

Children aged 7–12 years with NF1 (n = 60) were compared with typically developing children (n = 36). Poor word readers with NF1 were classified according to impairment type (i.e., phonological, surface, mixed), and their reading subskills were compared. A hierarchical multiple regression was conducted to identify predictors of word reading.

Compared to controls, children with NF1 demonstrated significantly poorer literacy abilities. Of the 49 children with NF1 classified as poor readers, 20 (41%) were classified with phonological dyslexia, 24 (49%) with mixed dyslexia, and 5 (10%) fell outside classification categories. Children with mixed dyslexia displayed the most severe reading impairments. Stronger working memory, better receptive language, and fewer inattentive behaviors predicted better word reading skills.

The majority of children with NF1 experience deficits in key reading skills which are essential for them to become successful readers. Weaknesses in working memory, receptive language, and attention are associated with reading difficulties in children with NF1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-496
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number5
Early online date16 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • literacy
  • dyslexia
  • NF1
  • reading impairments
  • cognition
  • working memory
  • children


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