Dyslexia study at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
As part of our ongoing research program, we are
conducting a series of studies that are designed to examine the way 8-12
year-old children with dyslexia attend to and integrate sensory information
(sight, hearing). Our ability to make sense of our world depends on our ability
to integrate what we hear with what we see. How children with dyslexia
integrate auditory (heard) and visual (seen) information is particularly
interesting, since reading requires the integration of letters and speech
with dyslexia often report problems with auditory information such as speech or
with visual information such as letters. While for the majority of these
children, these symptoms are already present at birth, yet most children are
not diagnosed with dyslexia until the age of seven. This means that many
children with dyslexia lose crucial/important years of early intervention. To
be able to diagnose dyslexia at an earlier age, we need to answer a number of
questions. Do children with dyslexia have a deficit/difficulty not only in
being able to see and hear separately but also with being able to combine or integrate
this information? Are there early signs of dyslexia present in the brain?
Do the brains of children with dyslexia function
differently to their typically developing peers? What are the genetic markers of these
symptoms and different brain functions?
We at the Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab at Albert Einstein College of
Medicine (CNL-AECOM) are committed to answering these research questions.
To do this, we conduct brain imaging studies and genetic testing. One of
these studies uses EEG to record brain activity. This means that when your
child comes to our center, we place what looks like a bathing cap on his/her
head (Figure 1). These caps are fitted with electrodes that rest on the surface
of the cap and measure the electrical activity of the brain while participants
watch movies and complete experimental tasks that are presented as computer
games. All that is required is for your child to press a button on a computer.
EEG is a painless procedure that can easily be used with even the youngest of infants.
The other type of brain imaging
technique we use is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The magnetic resonance scanner is a device that can record
the anatomy and the activity of the brain non-invasively. During the study your
child will lie down on a platform, which will slide into the scanner (Figure 2).
Then the scanner will start recording images of the brain while your child is
asked to do simple tasks like listening to a story. Your child cannot feel the
scan and it is therefore painless. Our group has extensive experience in scanning
both children and adults. And finally, genetic testing involves providing a sample of you and your
child’s saliva into a spit kit.
The testing is completed in three or four visits
of approximately 4-6 hours. We can schedule children on weekends or holidays
too. In the first visit, we administer basic tests that examine language
abilities and overall level of functioning and in the second and third visit,
the computer tasks, EEG recordings and the fMRI scannings are completed. The
first visit allows us to establish your child’s level of functioning and will
help us determine which experimental tasks are appropriate given your child’s
age and ability level. These are psychometric tests commonly used by
psychologists and speech and language pathologists, and have been used
extensively with children of all ages.
You will be provided with clinical feedback and
recommendations for your child in the form of a written report signed by a
psychologist. While your child is being tested, we might ask parents to fill
out some questionnaires that look at your child’s sensory preferences, personal
strengths, and developmental history. If your child does not yet have an
official diagnosis of dyslexia, we will also complete diagnostic measures. The
results of these diagnostic measures will also be incorporated into the
psychological report we provide to you post completion of the study. This
report will only be given to you; whether you choose to share this information
with your child’s school, teachers, or therapists is left entirely to your own
discretion. This report is provided free of charge.
Please be advised that the data in this study will be used only for
research purposes and will be held in the strictest confidence and that your
child’s results will not affect his/her educational status. Results will be
published as group averages and no personal information will be used in the
publication of findings. We greatly appreciate your participation in this
Our laboratory and clinic is
located at the Albert Einstein College of
Medicine in the Bronx , easily accessible by subway, bus, and car (click here for
directions & map):
Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory
1225 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, NY 10461
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a time to come to
the center and participate in the research, please contact Dr. Zonya Mitchell at (718)-862-1878.