Economou, M. 1 , Vanden Bempt, F. 2 , Van Herck, S. 1 , Glatz, T. 1 , Vanderauwera, J. 2 , Ghesquière, P. 2 , Wouters, J. 1 & Vandermosten, M. 1
1 Research Group Experimental Oto-rhino-laryngology, Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven
2 Parenting and Special Education Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven
The importance of early identification and intervention in dyslexia is becoming increasingly clear, however relatively little is known on remediation effects at the neuroanatomical level, especially when training takes place before the onset of reading acquisition. In the present study we aim to fill this gap by looking at the neural effects of intervention in a group of 120 pre-readers at risk for dyslexia. At-risk children were selected based on poorer performance in literacy predictors compared to peers. Of those, 60 played GraphoGame, a computerized game targeting phonological and reading skills, 30 played other games and 30 played no game. An additional control group of 30 non-risk children was also included. The training lasted for 12 weeks, with six weekly sessions of 15 minutes. Our aim is to look at training-induced plasticity by characterizing microstructural changes in white matter tissue. To this end, we acquire pre- and post- measures of advanced diffusion MRI as well as multi-exponential T2 relaxation data. Post-intervention data collection is still ongoing but detailed analyses and results will be presented at the conference. We specifically expect intervention-induced changes in the GraphoGame group, namely in diffusion and myelin-specific metrics within white matter tracts implicated in reading acquisition.