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Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDBB)

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Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities Program

The Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities Program focuses on research and training initiatives to increase understanding of both normal and atypical development of reading and written language skills throughout the life course. This Program includes a focus on the development of prevention, remediation, and instructional approaches and methods to enhance these abilities. The Program includes both longitudinal and cross-sectional work on reading and writing development, from preschool into adulthood, and includes multidisciplinary studies that integrate genetic, neurobiological, cognitive/behavioral, and intervention studies. The program particularly encourages work on understudied research topics within these topical areas including writing development and interventions targeting writing skills, development of literacy skills in struggling adolescent and adult learners, and research that targets diverse, historically understudied samples of learners. This programmatic research focus is complemented by the Early Learning and School Readiness and Language, Bilingualism and Biliteracy research Programs.

Reading Development. The Program supports research on the environmental, experiential, instructional, cognitive, linguistic, genetic, and neurobiological contributions to the developmental reading process. The programmatic goals include a focus on foundational science topics related to the acquisition and development of reading and related skills, including oral language and written language skills. The Program also focuses on translational science and includes support for interventions to address diverse learners' needs across the lifespan from preschool into adulthood.

Writing Development. This programmatic focus seeks to understand the development of orthographic processing, spelling, written composition, written expression, knowledge transformation, meta-cognitive skills, and compositional fluency. Programmatic emphases include foundational and translational science investigating the cognitive, behavioral, instructional, and neurobiological contributions to the development of these skills, and the relationships among oral language, reading, and written language skills. The Program particularly encourages longitudinal and mixed-method approaches to these topics.

Learning Disabilities Impacting Reading and Writing. The Program seeks to develop new knowledge about the causes or origins and developmental courses of learning disabilities that affect oral language abilities related to reading and writing, basic reading skills, reading fluency, reading comprehension, and written expression. Study topics include identification of, and intervention programs for, children at risk for reading or writing difficulties, investigations of the genetics of learning disabilities and co-morbid disorders, the possible causal roles of genetic and environmental factors in learning disabilities, and the neurobiology of learning disabilities.

The Program emphasizes prevention, early intervention, and remediation of learning disabilities and co-morbid conditions. Additionally, the Program encourages the development of reliable and valid quantitative and qualitative measurement instruments and measurement strategies to identify children at risk for failure in these academic domains, as well as measurement tools and approaches that can assess growth over time and in response to interventions.

Program Director: Brett Miller ​​

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