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Kennedy Krieger Partners with Jemicy: Exploring Impact of Executive Function on Reading

By Kara Horst, Director of Lower School, and Laura Williams, LMS Faculty
Staying on the forefront of research and methodology is a trademark of Jemicy School. We are excited to announce that 20 students are participating in an ongoing research study with Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) that explores the relationship between executive function skills and reading fluency in students with language-based learning differences in both the clinical and school setting.
The partnership began in 2021, and we are proud that our Jemicy families and faculty continue to volunteer and participate enthusiastically. This research is of great interest to Jemicy, as it not only informs our own methodology but also produces reliable data that will help teach students with dyslexia all over the world.
Dr. Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, a developmental cognitive neuroscientist, and her team lead this initiative with our students and parents. Using cognitive and neuroimaging tools, Dr. Horowitz-Kraus’ research explores the contribution of executive functions to reading, reading acquisition, and language processing in different populations. In the first year of Jemicy’s school-based partnership, 25 M and I Group students participated. In 2022, only M Group was included and there were 8 participants.
As in past years, participation is voluntary and integrated into the students’ day during Study Hall, so it does not interfere with other aspects of their scheduling. Students are pre-tested, participate in the eight-week, computer-based intervention, and post-tested. Some students qualify to participate in the clinical study and will complete a brain scan that uses high-tech equipment to track brain activity in students with learning differences. The students who complete the scan also receive a picture of their brain and a radiology report from a radiologist from Johns Hopkins. We feel honored that Jemicy’s students have been asked for a third year to participate in the school-based research when the study resumes again in early 2024.
The Educational NeuroImaging Group (ENIG) focuses on determining the neuronal, cognitive, genetic, and environmental components that underlie typical and atypical child development within the essential elements of communication in children. BrainCraft™, an innovative intervention program designed to train young brains effectively, is utilized in the research. In this program, ENIG aims to practice language, cognitive, emotional, and reading abilities (all critical components in a child’s development) with the help of character-based figures such as Readly (reading training), Mathy (math training), Coggy (cognitive training), Lanny (language training), and Emmy (emotional training).
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