Mid-Atlantic Consortium Newsletter Summer 2013

GRaD Study: Genes, Reading, and Dyslexia

This is a multi-site study completed in collaboration with Yale University, with studies conducted at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) in Baltimore, and directed by Mark Mahone, Ph.D.  The investigation is designed to develop a better method for identifying children at increased risk for dyslexia by examining genetic factors, particularly among African-American and Hispanic children. Dyslexia, the causes for which remain unknown, causes impaired reading ability; it also may cause difficulties with language, the ability to rapidly connect combinations of letters to their sounds and meanings, or a combination. Dyslexia varies in severity and is believed to affect up to 10-15 percent of all school-aged children, as well as adults. Most people with dyslexia learn to read to some degree, but in most cases, reading lags behind other abilities, even for those with above average overall intelligence.

Participants in this research will include African-American or Hispanic children between the ages of 8 and 15 years who have a history of difficulty with reading and writing. All participants will take school-like tests of cognitive abilities, including reading tests. In addition, participants will provide a saliva sample to allow researchers to determine if anything related to genetics is associated with reading difficulties. By correlating genetics to reading ability, this research not only could help develop improved screening tests for children suspected of having dyslexia, but also provide new insights into the fundamental causes of this common condition.

For more information, contact Taylor Koriakin by phone at 443-923-7927 or by email at koriakin@kennedykrieger.org.