The LDRC Consortium was established in 1989 as a primary means for developing knowledge on the causes, origins, and developmental course of learning disabilities. Projects studied by the Consortium address learning disabilities that affect reading and writing, including basic reading skills, reading fluency, reading comprehension, and written expression.
Studies conducted by the LDRC Consortium generated a critical part of the research cited in the Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read, which provided the foundation for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110) and subsequent education-related legislation. Consortium research also provided key data that was used for the revision and reauthorization of the Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 108-446) in 2004, which allowed states to consider alternative approaches in the classification of learning disabilities.
The Consortium is supported by the NICHD Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDBB) and is currently the only center program funded by the Branch. The Consortium presently includes four research centers that currently, and throughout their histories, have involved numerous research sites and a large cohort of investigators with expertise in diverse topics related to learning disabilities. Funding for the centers is through a Specialized Research Center Grant award mechanism (P50).
LDRC Consortium research includes basic and translational studies to elucidate the cognitive, linguistic, neurobiological, and genetic mechanisms of reading and writing.
Research topics include (but are not limited to):
- Identifying the genetic and neurobiological contributions and response-to-intervention characteristics of children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities.
- Developing and validating classification systems and definitions for learning disabilities that impact reading and writing.
- Understanding how individuals learn to write and identifying the best ways to teach writing to both learning-disabled and typically achieving children.
- Expanding knowledge of reading comprehension and ways to improve comprehension with a focus on readers who struggle or have a learning disability.
- Investigating the relationship of executive function skills to the acquisition of reading and writing.
- Examining the impact of comorbid conditions such as ADHD or math learning disabilities on the performance of individuals with reading and/or writing disabilities.