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Classification and Integration

Identifying individual children who meet criteria for learning disability (LD) has plagued research and practice since the origin of the concept of LD. In this project, we leverage the special statistical and clinical expertise of our team and advances in statistical computing and analytic models, simulation, and meta-analysis to continue and extend a long history of research on the classification and definition of LD, evaluating the reliability of different approaches to identification; the validity of classifications based on intervention response; and the integration of research on classification, executive functions, and intervention.

Executive Functions

This project is designed to clarify the structure of executive functions, determine the relevance of that structure to reading comprehension and other academic skills, and evaluate how to most effectively integrate executive functions into remedial reading comprehension interventions, such as those our current Intervention project proposes.


The purpose of this large-scale project is to conduct a series of randomized controlled trial studies to determine the efficacy of reading interventions for students with learning disabilities and reading difficulties. This project focuses on investigating interventions provided through intensive small-group instruction for upper-elementary students.


The overall goal of the Neuroimaging project is to develop a comprehensive neurobiological model of text comprehension that will supplement the cognitive framework developed within the Executive Functions project. In addition, we propose to evaluate features of brain organization associated with developmental outcomes of educational interventions addressed in our current Intervention project.


This project focused on alternatives for identifying students as being learning disabled. This series of studies examined response to intervention as a framework for making sound decisions about the instructional needs of students and for delivering appropriate levels of intervention in response to those needs. A particular focus was developing reliable and efficient tools for measuring student progress reliably and efficiently and for identifying the subset of students whose educational outcomes would benefit from alternative instructional settings, such as special education.

Early Intervention

This project focused on the instructional aspects of response to intervention, specifically on the effect of moderately intense levels of instructional intervention on student reading achievement. Two cohorts of students participated in first grade and were followed through second or third grade. Students identified as being at risk for reading problems received increasingly intense levels of reading instruction as a means of preventing the development of later reading difficulties. We regularly monitored their progress and compared their reading outcomes to those of students not identified as being at risk.


For 5 years (2006–2011), researchers at the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, with funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, addressed questions related to the implementation and effect of response to intervention with sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students who attended middle schools. Inquiry focused on the development and field-testing of screening and progress-monitoring measures and on secondary (Tier 2) and tertiary (Tier 3) interventions.

Magnetic Source Imaging

This project used magnetic source imaging to evaluate the neural correlates of reading and reading intervention in children at risk for or identified with learning disabilities involving reading. We completed this objective in relation to specific features of the brain activation profiles associated with different subtypes of poor readers based on the Reading Components model in the Classification project and with adequate and inadequate response to different interventions in the Early Intervention and Remediation projects completed in 2011.