New Grant Helps UH Learning Disabilities Research

The University of Houston's Texas Center for Learning Disabilities has been awarded a 5 year, $9 million grant to continue its unique research on learning disabilities.

The grant is from the National Institute of Health and is a continuation of an earlier award in 2006. The UH Center for Learning Disabilities works with elementary and middle school students here in Houston and in Austin, with early interventions that focus on reading difficulties.

Dr. Jack Fletcher heads the center and says the new award will help researchers study a known gap between early elementary grades and middle school.

“In the new study, we’re going to go into the missing gap years, which would be grades four and five, and intervene with 4th graders for up to two years and see if we can’t do a better job of preparing children, who are struggling with reading for middle school.”

It’s estimated between 5 and 10 percent of children have some sort of learning disability, and many more have trouble reading. Fletcher says the news research could help children avoid trouble down the road.

“Reading problems presage a whole host of difficulties as adults with vocational placement, social outcomes, a host of events. We try and prevent reading disabilities because of their association with these adverse adult outcomes.”

The new grant will help the UH Texas Center for Learning Disabilities hire more research assistants, teachers and support staff.