A recent concern in the field of dyslexia studies is the lack of awareness and attention to university students suffering from this condition. If this problem is serious in countries where the relative opacity of the writing system allows for an early detection and, therefore, effective interventions, it is most critical in countries where transparent spelling makes such detection difficult, except in the most severe cases. In Spain, the diagnosis of dyslexia is rare among university-level adults. The present study pursues three aims: (a) to put forward a screening instrument for the detection of university students at risk of dyslexia, (b) to determine the ratio of university students that could be at risk of dyslexia by means of two different procedures, and (c) to create awareness for a disorder that causes hitherto unrecognized difficulties for an important subgroup of the college population. Six hundred and eighty-six university students in four different fields of study within the general area of Social Sciences from a public University in Madrid completed a Spanish-adapted version of a protocol including stress assignment, spelling words and nonwords, and timed phonological working memory of reading and writing task. Results showed that between 1.6% and 6.4% of this population could be at risk of suffering dyslexia. Such risk is not evenly distributed across the four fields of study. As for gender, the first criterion used yields 1.8 males at risk for every female, but the second criterion has as many males as females at risk. Women were significantly better than men in word spelling. Spelling was best predicted by the timed phonological working memory task of reading and writing.
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