UW News

April 2, 2001

Children who love to read needed for UW study to help others with learning disabilities

Puget Sound area children in the fifth and sixth grades who love to read are being sought as volunteers by University of Washington researchers trying to help other children with learning disabilities improve their reading and language skills.

Members of the UW’s multidisciplinary Learning Disabilities Center are looking for 30 boys and girls who had no problem learning to read to help try out new tests that will be used in on-going studies with children who have learning disabilities.

All that’s involved is a short reading and language test and performing some reading and language tasks while their brain is being scanned by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), said Todd Richards, a UW neurophysicist and one of the lead investigators at the center and the imaging study. No radiation or injections are involved in the MRI scans.

The process takes two hours and children will be paid at least $25 for participating.

To be eligible, children must not be wearing braces and must be right handed. The metal in braces interferes with the imaging signals. Only right-handed youngsters are being sought because their language center is located in the left side of their brain. The language center of left-handed people can be in either brain hemisphere.

The Learning Disabilities Center, which is directed by Virginia Berninger, professor of educational psychology, is investigating treatments for dyslexia and specific writing disorder. The center also is engaged in outreach to help schools teach children with these genetically based disorders more effectively.

Parents interested in having their children participate in the study or those who have questions about the study may contact Richards at (206) 598-6725 or by e-mail at toddr@u.washington or Elizabeth Aylward, professor of radiology, at (206) 221-6610 or eaylward@u.washington.edu
For more information, contact Richards at (206) 598-6725 or toddr@u.washington.edu