The Center for Defining and Treating Specific Learning Disabilities in Written Language has seven broad objectives: (1) Use learning profiles of writing, reading, and oral language skills to identify clear, nonoverlapping cases of 3 well-defined specific learning disabilities in written language (SLDs-WL)-impaired handwriting, impaired word reading and spelling, and impaired reading comprehension and written expression-and then evaluate their construct validity based on their concordance with evidence-based, behavioral markers of genetic and brain differences and differential response to the same specialized instruction, that is, Response to Intervention (RTI) (Project I);(2) Investigate the complexities of learning written English, a morphophonemic orthography, during written language tasks in the upper elementary grades and middle school/ junior high grades for students who do and do not struggle in learning written language (Project II);(3) Examine whether the brain's temporal functional connectivity differs among the three SLDs-WL and between them and normal readers and writers and, if so, whether after specialized instruction any prior differences in connectivity normalize (Project III);(4) Increase knowledge of why some students show persisting difficulties in learning written language in the upper elementary and middle school/junior high grades (grades 4 to 9) (Projects I, II, III, and Service Core B);(5) Advance transdisciplinary knowledge of whether phenotypic, genetic (normal or abnormal allele in specific gene locations), and motivation factors predict behavioral RTI (Project I, Service Core B) and brain RTI for students in general (Project III, Service Core B);(6) Advance knowledge of the language, working memory, biological, and affective influences on RTI by evaluating which of the variables in Objective 5 best predicts behavioral RTI and brain RTI for each of the SLDs-W;and (7) Share the transportable, computerized, specialized instruction for students and professional development for teachers (Project I) with researchers and the community serving diverse populations: Spanish-Speaking English language learners and Native Americans in urban and reservation schools (Service Core B).

Public Health Relevance

Children with undiagnosed and untreated specific learning disabilities affecting written language learning are at greater risk for underachievement in the upper grades, school drop out, failure to graduate from high school and gain access to higher education, and related mental health problems. The proposed multidisciplinary research has practical significance for improving diagnosis and providing more effective services which may lower such risks.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Specialized Center (P50)
Project #
1P50HD071764-01
Application #
8262238
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-H (53))
Program Officer
Miller, Brett
Project Start
2011-12-15
Project End
2016-11-30
Budget Start
2011-12-15
Budget End
2012-11-30
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$1,697,315
Indirect Cost
$531,753
Name
University of Washington
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Education
DUNS #
605799469
City
Seattle
State
WA
Country
United States
Zip Code
98195
McCutchen, Deborah; Stull, Sara; Herrera, Becky Logan et al. (2014) Putting words to work: effects of morphological instruction on children's writing. J Learn Disabil 47:86-97
Niedo, Jasmin; Lee, Yen Ling; Breznitz, Zvia et al. (2014) Computerized Silent Reading Rate and Strategy Instruction for Fourth Graders at Risk in Silent Reading Rate. Learn Disabil Q 37:100-110
Rubenstein, Kevin B; Raskind, Wendy H; Berninger, Virginia W et al. (2014) Genome scan for cognitive trait loci of dyslexia: Rapid naming and rapid switching of letters, numbers, and colors. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 165B:345-56
Jones, Jasmin Niedo; Abbott, Robert D; Berninger, Virginia W (2014) Predicting Levels of Reading and Writing Achievement in Typically Developing, English-Speaking 2(nd) and 5(th) Graders. Learn Individ Differ 32:54-68
Nagy, William E; Carlisle, Joanne F; Goodwin, Amanda P (2014) Morphological knowledge and literacy acquisition. J Learn Disabil 47:3-12
Berninger, Virginia W; Abbott, Robert D (2013) Differences between Children with Dyslexia Who Are and Are Not Gifted in Verbal Reasoning. Gift Child Q 57:
Reitz, Frederick; Richards, Todd; Wu, Kelvin et al. (2013) A low-cost, computer-interfaced drawing pad for FMRI studies of dysgraphia and dyslexia. Sensors (Basel) 13:5099-108