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Word reading, vocabulary, and mental health problems in adolescent girls and boys with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Journal article
Authors Julia Eldblom
Petra Boström
Malin Broberg
Jakob Åsberg Johnels
Published in International Journal of Developmental Disabilities
ISSN 2047-3869
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Intellectual and developmental disabilities, vocabulary, word reading, literacy, mental health problems, difficulties questionnaire, swedish version, children, skills, strengths, gender, disorders, validity, students, growth, Education & Educational Research, Rehabilitation
Subject categories Psychology


Reading difficulties are linked to several disadvantages in the general population. Less is known about correlates of reading difficulties in individuals with intellectual and severe developmental disabilities (IDD). Vocabulary and word reading were assessed in 112 adolescents with IDD, recruited from Special needs comprehensive schools in Sweden (grundsarskolor in Swedish). Proxy-ratings of mental health were collected from teachers and parents for a subset of the participants. Relationships between all measures were investigated. Reading and vocabulary were poorly developed in both groups and significantly associated. While mental health problems were common, there were no significant associations with word reading or with vocabulary knowledge. Thus, the study did not confirm an association between reading difficulties and mental health problems in adolescents with IDD. Still, the frequency of mental health problems and the low reading abilities point to the need for further intervention for adolescents with IDD.

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