Heidelberg Phoneme Discrimination Test (HLAD): normative data for children of the third grade and correlation with spelling ability

Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2008;60(3):157-61. doi: 10.1159/000121393. Epub 2008 Apr 2.


Objective: The Heidelberg Phoneme Discrimination Test (HLAD), developed and standardized in 1998, is widely used in the differential diagnosis of dyslexia. Normative data have only been available for children of the 2nd and 4th grades, while norms for the 3rd grade are still missing.

Patients and methods: We assessed three HLAD subtests [auditory phoneme discrimination, kinesthetic phoneme discrimination (repeating minimal pairs) and phoneme analysis] in 140 children of the 3rd grade from eight elementary schools. Writing capacity was tested via DRT3.

Results: Comparing children of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades, we found a continuing increase in phoneme discrimination capacity with age. This increase was especially evident for the task of auditory comparison. For the 3rd grade, the correlation between HLAD and writing test (qualitative analysis) was 0.55, and 0.36 between HLAD and writing (quantitative analysis). The correlation with writing tasks was highest in the 2nd grade.

Conclusion: The steady increase in phoneme discrimination capacity from the 2nd to 4th grade may indicate maturation and learning effects at least until the age of 10 years.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Linguistics*
  • Male
  • Phonetics*
  • Reference Values
  • Speech Discrimination Tests*
  • Speech Perception*
  • Verbal Behavior