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Reading: More than any other subject, it is key to our livelihoods and success in life. Much emphasis is placed on developing reading skills in children at an early age but research shows that even children who were proficient at reading in the primary grades can slip and struggle in adolescence and beyond. In fact, a recent study revealed that a startling 70 percent of eighth graders in the United States cannot read at a proficient level. But shockingly, virtually no research has concentrated on the literacy problems faced by this older group of students.
Now, researchers from Kennedy Krieger, Haskins Laboratories at Yale University and the Educational Testing Service have partnered to explore the characteristics of reading difficulties in adolescents and the best ways to help. When the team completes its study, educators will know which interventions work best for students with different types of reading problems. We'll examine this exciting new project in this issue of Touch.
Also in this issue: Learn more about Kennedy Krieger's new spinal cord injury center. While traditional rehabilitation programs for spinal cord injuries have focused on helping patients learn to compensate for disabilities thought to be permanent, this new center will operate on the philosophy that with the right kinds of therapy, improvement is possible many years after an accident.
Fifteen-year-old Tatyana McFadden, a star in Kennedy Krieger's Physically Challenged Sports and Recreation program, recently joined the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Track Team in Athens. You'll meet her in this issue's Success Story. We'll also profile Dr. Stewart Mostofsky's study linking the motor skill deficits often seen in children with autism to the communication difficulties commonly associated with the disorder. Our final feature highlights Kennedy Krieger's training program one designed to not just prepare competent professionals, but to create the next generation of leaders in the field of developmental disabilities.
We hope this issue of Touch helps you imagine all the ways we can work together to help children with neurological disabilities live the most rewarding lives possible.
Gary W. Goldstein
President and CEO