הפקולטה לחינוך מברכת את ד"ר יפית גבאי מהחוג לחינוך מיוחד ופרופ' אבי קרני מהחוג ללקויות למידה על זכייתם יחד עם פרופ' לורי הולט מאוניברסיטת קרנגי מלון בארה"ב, במענק מכובד של קרן (BSF (The U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, תחת הקטגוריה: Child Development.
המענק ניתן למחקר תחת הכותרת "The dynamics of procedural auditory category learning in developmental dyslexia" לתקופה של 4 שנים.
Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is a developmental disorder in learning to read that affects approximately 5-17% of the population. As one of the most common neuro-developmental disorders, it impacts literacy skill acquisition and educational outcomes. Poor literacy takes a very high toll as low reading skills are consistently associated with lower participation in the labor force, heightened participation in public assistance programs, poorer outcomes among offspring, increased mental and physical health risks, and lower civic involvement. One of the most prominent deficits in DD is in processing the sounds that make up words. Prominent accounts of the nature of DD dysfunction have focused on these impairments, but emerging research suggests that individuals with DD may be specifically impaired on a type of learning known as procedural learning. This learning draws on brain systems that are somewhat different from those engaged by overt, explicit learning and relates to learning regularities from the environment and establishing cognitive habits, skills, and procedures that we might not be able to verbally express well (like how to ride a bicycle). Research by the US research team suggests procedural learning is involved in learning the sounds that make up words. Research by the Israeli team demonstrates that the robustness of procedural skill learning depends on the successful triggering and completion of several distinct processes. The proposed project forms a bi-national team to undertake the first-ever studies of the detailed time course of procedural sound category learning in DD. The approach is unique in that it investigates general learning capacities of individuals with DD, outside of language, but as related to the acquisition of a basic auditory processing skill that is critical to language learning. The team will examine how learning interacts with the acoustic sensory information defining categories and how learning is consolidated over time in both typically developing young adults and individuals with DD. Auditory training has been suggested in remediating phonological and reading skills in DD. Understanding the nature of how procedural learning deficits interact with auditory category learning in DD will direct evidenced-based practice in developing the next generation of approaches to remediation of DD. Moreover, since these studies take the approach of comparing learning in DD with learning in typical adults, we will be contributing to the understanding of auditory category learning more generally.