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Original Articles

Prevalence and correlates of reading and spelling difficulty in 10 year old children in a semi-urban population in Sri Lanka

Authors:

M S V Sandyanganie,

Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Colombo, LK
About M S V
Nursing Officer, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Colombo
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K C Jeewandara,

Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, LK
About K C
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura
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Hemamali Perera

LK
About Hemamali

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

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Abstract

Introduction: Reading and spelling disability in children is neurodevelopmental in nature and is associated with a range of cognitive deficits. The condition is of clinical importance due to its comorbidity with other developmental disorders and disruptive and antisocial behaviour disorders.  

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of reading and spelling difficulty in Sinhala language in 10 year old children attending main-stream education and its relationship between socio-economic and family factors.  

Method: In this community based cross sectional study, the sample was randomly selected from children attending Grade 5 in all main stream schools in a geographically defined area. The working definition of reading and spelling difficulty was adopted from standards set by the National Institute of Education for Sri Lankan in children 10 years old and attending Grade 5. Assessment was objectively structured into 5 different tasks, which were independently scored by 2 assessors. Data were obtained on developmental adversities, physical health and socio-economic status of family.

Results: The total sample was 275 with 56.3% males. Of the 5 domains (reading, comprehension, spelling, sentence writing, expressive written language) assessed, spelling difficulty was the most prevalent (22.5%). Correlation between the performance in the 5 domains was significant (p<0.01). Odds Ratio for reading and spelling was 2.3 (95% CI 2.107 to 2.593) for low education level of mother. Similar figure for low income of family was 2.3 (95% CI 2.161 to 2.439).    

Conclusions: The study found a high prevalence of reading and spelling disability in Sinhala language in 10 year old children attending main-stream education. The risk of such disability is significantly higher in the presence of low educational level of mother and low family income.

How to Cite: Sandyanganie, M.S.V., Jeewandara, K.C. and Perera, H., 2016. Prevalence and correlates of reading and spelling difficulty in 10 year old children in a semi-urban population in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 45(3), pp.193–198. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v45i3.8143
Published on 05 Sep 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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