LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Boston Longitudinal Dyslexia Study (BOLD)


Is your child at risk for developmental dyslexia? We are investigating the early detection of reading difficulties in pre-reading children. The main goal of this study is to use brain imaging methods to identify early markers for dyslexia in children who are at risk for developmental dyslexia at a very early age, before they’ve even learned to read. Because reading problems tend to run in families, we aim to look at how brain structure and function in young children who have at least one family member diagnosed with dyslexia. We will compare the brain networks of children with a familial risk of dyslexia to those of typical pre-reading children.

Eligibility for Study Participation

• Children, ages 5 and 6
• With or without a family history of dyslexia

Participation Details

This study consists of two 3-hour sessions: During session 1, your child's reading, language, hearing and cognitive abilities will be measured using psychometric assessments. Session 2 will take place at our Waltham location, where we will use a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner. The child will lie on a long narrow bed for about 60-90 minutes while the machine gathers data and makes scans of their brain.  We have some pictures of our brain camera (MRI machine) in the Kids Corner on the Gaab Lab page. During our imaging session, the children will play our Spaceship Adventure Game (for more details on participation, click here). Sessions will be scheduled at times that are convenient for you and your child. Free parking is provided.

Research Contact (Gaab Lab)

Full Description

This study will help to clarify how the brains of children who are pre-readers (ages 5 and 6), with and without a family history of developmental dyslexia, develop. Our research aims to allow for the early prediction of this common learning disability that affects 5-17% of children. Early prediction translates to more effective intervention, resulting in the easing of the clinical, psychological, and social difficulties that are often associated with dyslexia. We will follow our participants through elementary school and collect both behavioral and neuroimaging information.

Understanding brain processes in children with a risk for developmental dyslexia may help us to improve and implement early remediation programs. It may also lead to the development and support of social networks for parents and children. We hope that our work will help educators, scientists and parents to better understand how children with developmental dyslexia can best be supported to improve their reading development and experiences.

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This