Background. In children with intellectual disability (ID), the acquisition of reading skills constitutes a basic step towards the possibility of independent living, social inclusion and participation. Methods. We carried out a narrative review of the literature on reading fluency and accuracy of individuals with ID resulting from different genetic syndromes (Fragile X, Williams, Velocardiofacial, Prader-Willi, and Down syndrome). Our aim was to define their reading profiles in light of the dual-route reading model. For this purpose, studies that examined both word and non-word reading in children with ID were included in the analysis. Results. Seventeen studies emerged based on the selection criteria. The results were different depending on the control group used. A deficit in reading non-words emerged in studies that used the reading-level match design but not when standardized scores were used, when controls were age-matched or when a mental age matching was used. Thus, a deficit in reading non-words emerged only in studies that used the reading-level match design. However, severe methodological criticisms were recently raised about the use of this matching design. Conclusions. In view of the methodological problems in using grade equivalents, it is premature to draw definite conclusions about the reading profile of children with ID resulting from different genetic syndromes. In any case, the reviewed evidence provides little support for the idea that children with ID have selective difficulty in phonological reading. Thus, the reading profile of children with ID remains an open question that needs to be investigated by means of methodologically sound research.
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