According to the new Diagnostic statistical manual (DSM 5), all reading difficulties now fall under the broad diagnostic term “Specific learning disorder” (SLD) along with written expression and mathematics. Dyslexia, Reading Disorder, Specific Reading Disability and Developmental Dyslexia are all names that are used interchangeably to describe a reading difficulty.

Based on the DSM 5, in order to meet the criteria for SLD in reading and/or written expression, one or more of the following symptoms need to “have persisted for at least 6 months despite the provision of interventions that target those difficulties”:
A 1. Inaccurate or slow and effortful reading (e.g. reads single words aloud incorrectly or slowly or hesitantly, frequently guesses words, has difficulty sounding out words).
2. Difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read (e.g. may read text accurately but not understand the sequence, relationship, inferences or deeper meanings of what the text said.
3. Difficulties with spelling (e.g. may add, omit or substitute vowels or consonants).
4. Difficulties with written expression (e.g. makes multiple grammatical or punctuation errors within sentences; employs poor paragraph organization; written expression of ideas lacks clarity).
B: The affected academic skills are substantially and quantifiably below those expected for an individuals chronological age and cause significant interference with academic of occupational performance… as confirmed by individually administered standardized achievement measures.
C: The learning difficulties begin during school age years but may not become fully manifested until the demands of those affected academic skills exceed the individuals limited capacities.
D: the learning difficulties are not better accounted for by intellectual disabilities, uncorrected visual acuity or other mental or neurological disorders… or lack of proficiency in the language of instruction, or inadequate educational instruction.
A Specific learning disorder (SLD) with impairment in reading includes possible deficits in:
• Word reading accuracy
• Reading rate or fluency
• Reading comprehension
A Specific learning disorder with impairment in written expression includes possible deficits in:
• Spelling accuracy
• Grammar and punctuation accuracy
• Clarity and organization of written expression

(quoted directly from the DSM 5 (2013))

Types of Reading Difficulties