The major objective of this Project is to evaluate the influence of an intensive, phonologically-based reading intervention on the functional organization of the brain in reading disabled (RD) children. Despite widespread agreement that phonological processing problems are at the core of most cases of reading disability, we have limited data on the effectiveness of a phonologically-based intervention for RD children. At present, we have no data regarding the neurobiological mechanisms that may be associated with a remediation program. In order to determine whether patterns of brain activation change in response to intervention, it is necessary to a) deliver a focused intervention targeted for a specific type of disability, namely phonologically-based RD; b) evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention; and c) obtain noninvasive brain activation measures from RD children before and after the intervention. To accomplish these goals, we propose to study 80 RD children (40 males and 40 females), between the ages of 7.5 and 9.5, who will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) intensive, phonologically-based reading instruction; 2) generic, school-administered reading instruction.
Our specific aims i nclude: 1) assessing the response to intervention on achievement measures (e.g., real and nonword reading, comprehension, spelling, and math) and on cognitive and linguistic measures (e.g., multiple measures of phonological processing) administered before and after treatment and one year later. Individual growth over time during treatment and the year immediately following treatment will be determined by administering a repeated battery of cognitive and linguistic measures and using individual growth curve analysis to model change; 2) assessing the response to intervention through the use of neurobiological measures (fMRI administered before and after treatment and one year later. The assessment of multiple modalities will enable us to determine how growth over time is influenced by pretreatment neurobiological, cognitive, linguistic, and achievement variables, and to determine how posttreatment outcome is influenced by these pretreatment characteristics.
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