202201 Learning Disabilities Research Centers

​​​Program seeks Council approval to recompete an initiative titled “Learning Disabilities Research Centers (LDRC).” Approximately 15% of the general population has one or more Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs), struggling to acquire proficient skills in mathematics, reading and/or writing; and have high rates of co-occurring conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Limited functional literacy and/or numeracy skills have both short- and long-term consequences for learners, impacting their academic achievement and school completion, earning potential, health literacy and life expectancy.

The proposed RFA builds off our success in promoting richly integrative, transdisciplinary, multi-method approaches to examining research topics focusing on SLDs that are simply not feasible through standard research mechanisms and are of high public health import. The continuation of the LDRCs holds the promise to enhance classification models for SLDs, improve understanding of the genetic and neurobiological foundations of SLDs, test innovative screening and interventions approaches for SLDs, with an emphasis on populations with co-occurring conditions and individuals from historically under-represented and under-served groups, and enhance dissemination of translational research to policy maker, practitioner and lay audiences.

This centers program has also proven to provide fertile grounds for project-centered mentorship of the next generation of scholars and dissemination of information on the state of the science in the field of learning disabilities. This program aims to enrich the pool of next generation scholars prepared to conduct team-based science and increase research directly relevant to diverse populations. The current initiative is envisioned to include rigorous evaluation of community engagement efforts designed to develop and promote sustained, bi-directional engagement and learning among researchers and public health (e.g., primary care, public health clinics, schools) and community venues, promote access to and utilization of resources within these settings, and to build opportunities for the next generation of community engaged scholars.

This concept aligns most centrally with the NICHD strategic plan's emphasis on child adolescent health and the transition to adulthood, health disparities and disease prevention, and the training of the next generation of scientists. The concept also aligns closely with the Child Development and Behavior Branch emphasis on neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity.

Program Contact

Brett Miller
Child Development & Behavior Branch (CDBB)

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