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Poster A76, Wednesday, November 8, 10:30 – 11:45 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Brain responses to intensive intervention for reading disability

Einar Mencl1,2, Stephen Frost1, Dan Brennan1, Jeff Malins1, Kenneth Pugh1,2,3, Robin Morris4;1Haskins Laboratories, 2Yale University, 3University of Connecticut, 4Georgia State University

This ongoing project tracks children with standardized behavioral measures and pre-post neurobiological (fMRI) measures as they engage in a 70-week structured in-school reading intervention. All children are either low reading ability or meet criteria for reading disability, and have additionally demonstrated resistance to standard classroom literacy education. To date, 52 children have successfully completed the intervention sequence including behavioral testing and MRI scanning. Based on composite behavioral criteria (significant growth on Woodcock-Johnson 3 Passage Comprehension; Basic Skills; Reading Fluency; and Test of Transfer), 18 responded to the intervention and 34 did not. On average across all children, neuroimaging data revealed broad pre-to-post increases in brain responses to real printed words across several parts of the language/reading network, including the inferior frontal gyrus; posterior superior temporal gyrus; and parts of the inferior parietal cortex. To more precisely control for maturation, time effects, and other nuisance variables in this sample, we further examined which brain areas changed more in Responders versus Non-Responders. This analysis revealed specific increases in the middle temporal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, and the inferior occipito-temporal cortex. Taken together, these results suggest that successful response to intervention is related to the coordinated, increased engagement of a set of specific brain areas previously known to support both phonological processing (middle temporal and inferior frontal) as well as putatively visual processing (ventral stream).

Topic Area: Phonology and Phonological Working Memory

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