Background: Reading and spelling disorder (dyslexia) is one of the more common specific developmental disorders, with a prevalence of approximately 5%. It is characterized by severe impairment of learning to read and spell.
Methods: We discuss major aspects of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of dyslexia on the basis of a selective literature review and the guidelines of the German Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy.
Results: 40% to 60% of dyslexic children have psychological manifestations, including anxiety, depression, and attention deficit. The diagnostic assessment of dyslexia consists of a battery of standardized reading and spelling tests and an evaluation of the child's psychological state, including additional information obtained from parents and teachers. The treatment of dyslexia is based on two main strategies: specific assistance with the impaired learning areas (reading and spelling) and psychotherapy for any coexisting psychological disturbance that may be present. Evaluated preventive strategies are available for use in kindergarten and at home.
Conclusion: The diagnosis of dyslexia should be established with the aid of the multiaxial classification system. The benefit of specific treatment strategies for dyslexia has not yet been demonstrated empirically. Nonetheless, evaluated prevention programs are available in kindergarten that have been found to promote children's ability to acquire reading and spelling skills in school.