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 children at risk for developmental dyslexia at a very early age, before reading skills are even present. Because reading problems tend to run in families, we aim to look at how young children who have at least one family member diagnosed with dyslexia use their brains. We will compare the brain networks of children who may later show signs of developmental dyslexia with those of typical pre-reading children.
Eligibility for Study Participation
- Children, ages 4 to 6
- With or without a family history of dyslexia
This study consists of two 2-hour sessions: During session 1, your child's reading, language, hearing and cognitive abilities will be measured using psychometric assessments. The child will then sit in front of a computer screen and listen to sounds, language, or music and make choices about them using two response buttons. 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 30-45 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 a description, click here). Sessions will be scheduled at a time that are convenient for you and your child and you will be with your child at all times. Free parking is provided, as well as child care for any siblings you may bring along.
This study will help to clarify how the brains of children who are pre-readers (ages 4 to 6), with and without a family history of developmental dyslexia, develop. This 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 for four years 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. [No text in field]