Lab Director: Lauren McGrath, Ph.D.
Special Education: Learning Disabilities
School of Education
Affiliate, Department of Psychology
Our research focuses on cognitive, genetic and environmental risk factors for learning disabilities. Our work is cross-disciplinary, integrating perspectives and methods from neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, and special education to advance understanding and treatment for children with learning disabilities. The goal of our work is to develop a deeper cognitive understanding of learning disabilities in order to better match children with effective interventions and to guide new intervention approaches.
We are pursuing three main lines of research
Comorbidity refers to the fact that children diagnosed with a learning disability are often diagnosed with additional disorders, such as ADHD, speech/language disorders, and anxiety disorders. Because these children are most vulnerable for poor academic outcomes, we are trying to understand why these challenges tend to co-occur. We are conducting studies to investigate the brain, cognitive and developmental factors that increase risk for each of these disorders in the same child. For these studies, we are collaborating with colleagues in the neuropsychology department of the Kennedy Krieger Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
2) Educational Neuroscience
Educational neuroscience is an emerging field that seeks to inform educational practice by applying recent findings from the neuroscience of learning. Although there are several challenges faced by this new and growing field, we are advancing the educational neuroscience dialogue by partnering with educators. We are thrilled to be working with colleagues at the Lab School of Washington, one of the leaders in special education for children with learning disabilities. Through this partnership and others, we are trying to characterize the developmental trajectories of children with learning disabilities and to identify the best cognitive predictors of response to treatment. Our goal is to partner with educators to design research studies that address critical unanswered questions in special education.
Neuromyths are misconceptions about neuroscience research and the way it applies to learning and development. Although there is a wide-spread concern among neuroscientists about the propagation of neuromyths, there is not much empirical data on their prevalence (for an exception see Dekker et al., 2012). We are conducting a large-scale study of neuromyths across different professions to address this lack of data. Please click here to participate in the neuromyths study, and share the link.
Please participate in our neuromyths study. The study will take 10 - 15 minutes and will provide you with feedback about your performance.