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Venture Philanthropy / Targeted Problem-Solving

Early Dyslexia / Reading Disability Screening App

The diagnosis of developmental dyslexia in underserved children is primarily based on a “wait to fail approach.” Dyslexia diagnoses are usually not made before the third grade despite the fact that studies show that intensive interventions are most effective in kindergarten or first grade, and other studies show that up to 92% of at-risk beginning readers achieve average reading ability levels when provided with intensive instruction.

In 2017, the foundation supported a targeted solution to address the current state of dyslexia diagnosis. Dr. Nadine Gaab of Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) in collaboration with Dr. John Gabrieli of MIT have shown through a study of more than 1,500 kindergarteners that a carefully-selected screening battery can identify children at-risk of developing dyslexia. Dr. Gaab is partnering with BCH’s Digital Health Accelerator, which builds and scales digital technologies, to develop an early developmental dyslexia and reading disability screening app. The app will be a cost-effective platform that can be readily accessed by parents, teachers, and pediatricians and will consist of an interactive game that can screen for early indicators in approximately 30 minutes.