UW News

June 3, 2002

Participation in study may spell help for youngsters with spelling woes

University of Washington researchers are looking for 40 Puget Sound area boys and girls who are good spellers and who are finishing up the fourth, fifth or sixth grades to participate in a study that is designed to help other children who are having difficulty learning to spell.

To be eligible, children must be right handed, not be wearing braces and have easily learned to spell.

“Children don’t have to be national spelling bee participants but just the kind of youngsters who learned to spell with ease,” said Virginia Berninger, director of the UW’s Learning Disabilities Center and a professor of educational psychology.

Children who are accepted for the study will have their brains scanned twice, once in June or July and once in August. The scanning procedure is called fMRI. It is non-invasive and does not involve radiation. Each scanning visit will take about 90 minutes.
For participating in the study, children will receive pictures of their brain, a T-shirt and a small honorarium. Youngsters in this study will be part of a larger study that is testing an intervention program to help children who are having problems learning to spell.

Parents who have questions or would like to see if their child is eligible may contact Jennifer Thomson, research coordinator, at (206) 616-6377 or thomsonj@u.washington.edu

The study is being funded by the National Institutes of Health

For more information, contact Thomson at (206) 616-6377 or thomsonj@u.washington.edu