Bridge Denckla
MD Professor Emeritus

Research Scientist
Phone: 443-923-9250
Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States


Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla is a research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She previously served as the director of the Developmental Cognitive Neurology Clinic. She is also a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Dr. Denckla graduated summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1962, where she trained with Dr. Norman Geschwind in behavioral neurology. Dr. Denckla served residencies at Beth Israel Hospital and Veterans Administration Hospital, both in Boston, as well as Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC. After positions in neurology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and Harvard Medical School, she served as the director of the learning disabilities clinic at the Children's Hospital. She came to the Maryland area in 1982 to serve as chief of the section on autism and related disorders at the developmental neurology branch of the Neurological Disorders Program at the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (NIH). She came to Johns Hopkins and Kennedy Krieger Institute in 1987. Dr. Denckla served as the director of the Developmental Cognitive Neurology Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute, and held the Batza Family Endowed Chair at at the Institute.

Dr. Denckla is a past president of both the International Neuropsychology Society, and also of the Behavioral Neurology Society. Dr. Denckla has been awarded the Lucy G. Moses Prize in Clinical Neurology at Columbia University, the Norman Geschwind Memorial Lectureship at Orton Society, the Rita G. Rudel Memorial Lectureship at Columbia University, the Herbert Birch Memorial Lectureship at the International Neuropsychology Society, the Soriano Guest Lectureship of the American Neurological Association and the Bernard Sachs Lectureship of Child Neurological Society. She was the American Academy of Mental Retardation Research Center awardee.


The overarching goal of this Research Center is to examine the reading disabilities (RDs) present in children grades 3-8, including classification, identification, treatment, prevalence, neurocognitive characteristics, as well as the influence of comorbidities (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; ADHD) on reading. While much is known about early reading development and disorders, there has been much less examination of reading and RDs past the early elementary grades. Therefore, there is a critical gap in knowledge about what it takes for a reader to be able to effectively glean information - or learn - from text, even though this is arguably the most important skill needed to achieve academic success after the 3rd grade.

Our Research Center seeks to fill this critical gap in knowledge by bringing together a diverse and talented set of researchers and institutions (Kennedy Krieger Institute, Haskins Laboratories, Educational Testing Services (ETS), and University of Maryland) to conduct inter-related projects, the findings from which will allow us to gain a deep understanding of the neurobiological and behavioral processes that influence reading achievement past the early elementary grades. Our overarching hypothesis is that RDs past the early elementary years are heterogeneous in nature, caused by both "bottom up" and "top down" processes.

Within this context, we propose projects that I) examine the neurobiological and behavioral development of word-level efficiency, the relationship between word-level and text-level fluency and comprehension, and the influence of different textual demands upon comprehension; II) examine the validity of RTI as a way of identifying children with RDs, and to determine if there are neurocognitive indicators that predict intervention responsiveness; III) determine how the cognitive aspects of ADHD (processing speed, working memory) influence reading comprehension; and IV) to determine the prevalence of different subtypes of RDs by building upon the knowledge gained from Projects I, II, and III, as well as analyses of extant datasets. Thus, within the framework of Project IV, the projects of the Research Center converge in an endeavor that will have significant public health value. Knowing the common subtypes of RDs at what age, as well as the influence of ADHD, will help reveal what the instructional emphasis(es) should be for the older children in our nation, including what risk factors teachers should be looking for.

Related links

Elsevier Fingerprint Engine Profile for Martha Denckla

Research Publications

Stephens J, Salorio C, Denckla M, Mostofsky SSuskauer S (2016). Subtle Motor Findings During Recovery from Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Preliminary Report. J Mot Behav. , 1-7.

Goldberg MC, Allman MJ, Hagopian LP, Triggs MM, Frank-Crawford MA, Mostofsky SHDenckla MB, DeLeon IG (2016). Examining the reinforcing value of stimuli within social and non-social contexts in children with and without high-functioning autism. Autism. , .

Lee RW, Jacobson LAPritchard AE, Ryan MS, Yu Q, Denckla MBMostofsky S, Mahone EM(2015). Jitter Reduces Response-Time Variability in ADHD: An Ex-Gaussian Analysis. J Atten Disord. 19(9), 794-804. 

Jacobson LA, Ryan M, Martin RB, Ewen JMostofsky SHDenckla MB, Mahone EM (2011). Working memory influences processing speed and reading fluency in ADHD. Child Neuropsychol. 17(3), 209-24.

Goldberg MC, Spinelli S, Joel S, Pekar JJDenckla MBMostofsky SH (2011). Children with high functioning autism show increased prefrontal and temporal cortex activity during error monitoring. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 1(1), 47-56.

O'Brien JW, Dowell LR, Mostofsky SHDenckla MB, Mahone EM (2010). Neuropsychological profile of executive function in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 25(7), 656-70.

Martin R, Tigera C, Denckla MB, Mahone EM (2010). Factor structure of paediatric timed motor examination and its relationship with IQ. Dev Med Child Neurol. 52(8), e188-94.

Rimrodt SL, Peterson DJ, Denckla MB, Kaufmann WE, Cutting LE (2010). White matter microstructural differences linked to left perisylvian language network in children with dyslexia. Cortex. 46(6), 739-49.

McNally MA, Crocetti D, Mahone EM, Denckla MBSuskauer SJMostofsky SH (2010). Corpus callosum segment circumference is associated with response control in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). J Child Neurol. 25(4), 453-62.

Ryan M, Martin R, Denckla MBMostofsky SH, Mahone EM (2010). Interstimulus jitter facilitates response control in children with ADHD. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 16(2), 388-93.

Mahone EM, Mostofsky SH, Lasker AG, Zee D, Denckla MB (2009). Oculomotor anomalies in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: evidence for deficits in response preparation and inhibition. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 48(7), 749-56.

Carter JC, Lanham DC, Cutting LE, Clements-Stephens AM, Chen X, Hadzipasic M, Kim J, Denckla MB, Kaufmann WE (2009). A dual DTI approach to analyzing white matter in children with dyslexia. Psychiatry Res. 172(3), 215-9.

Wolosin SM, Richardson ME, Hennessey JG, Denckla MBMostofsky SH (2009). Abnormal cerebral cortex structure in children with ADHD. Hum Brain Mapp. 30(1), 175-84. 

Suskauer SJ, Simmonds DJ, Caffo BS, Denckla MBPekar JJMostofsky SH (2008). fMRI of intrasubject variability in ADHD: anomalous premotor activity with prefrontal compensation. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 47(10), 1141-50.

Goldberg MC, Mostow AJ, Vecera SP, Larson JC, Mostofsky SH, Mahone EM, Denckla MB (2008). Evidence for impairments in using static line drawings of eye gaze cues to orient visual-spatial attention in children with high functioning autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 38(8), 1405-13.

Wodka ELMostofsky SH, Prahme C, Gidley Larson JC, Loftis C, Denckla MB, Mahone EM (2008). Process examination of executive function in ADHD: sex and subtype effects.Clin Neuropsychol. 22(5), 826-41.

Roeder MB, Mahone EM, Gidley Larson J, Mostofsky SH, Cutting LE, Goldberg MCDenckla MB (2008). Left-right differences on timed motor examination in children. Child Neuropsychol. 14(3), 249-62.

Wodka EL, Loftis C, Mostofsky SH, Prahme C, Larson JC, Denckla MB, Mahone EM (2008). Prediction of ADHD in boys and girls using the D-KEFS. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 23(3), 283-93.

Suskauer SJ, Simmonds DJ, Fotedar S, Blankner JG, Pekar JJDenckla MBMostofsky SH(2008). Functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence for abnormalities in response selection in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: differences in activation associated with response inhibition but not habitual motor response. J Cogn Neurosci. 20(3), 478-93.

Bodnar LE, Prahme MC, Cutting LE, Denckla MB, Mahone EM (2007). Construct validity of parent ratings of inhibitory control. Child Neuropsychol. 13(4), 345-62.

Simmonds DJ, Fotedar SG, Suskauer SJPekar JJDenckla MBMostofsky SH (2007). Functional brain correlates of response time variability in children. Neuropsychologia. 45(9), 2147-57.

Larson JC, Mostofsky SHGoldberg MC, Cutting LE, Denckla MB, Mahone EM (2007). Effects of gender and age on motor exam in typically developing children. Dev Neuropsychol. 32(1), 543-62.

Mahone EM, Powell SK, Loftis CW, Goldberg MCDenckla MBMostofsky SH (2006). Motor persistence and inhibition in autism and ADHD. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 12(5), 622-31.

Mostofsky SH, Dubey P, Jerath VK, Jansiewicz EM, Goldberg MCDenckla MB (2006). Developmental dyspraxia is not limited to imitation in children with autism spectrum disorders. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 12(3), 314-26.

Mostofsky SH, Rimrodt SL, Schafer JG, Boyce A, Goldberg MCPekar JJDenckla MB (2006). Atypical motor and sensory cortex activation in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of simple sequential finger tapping. Biol Psychiatry. 59(1), 48-56. 

Mahone EM, Pillion JP, Hoffman J, Hiemenz JR, Denckla MB (2005). Construct validity of the auditory continuous performance test for preschoolers. Dev Neuropsychol. 27(1), 11-33.

Kraut MA, Gerring JP, Cooper KL, Thompson RE, Denckla MB, Kaufmann WE (2004). Longitudinal evolution of unidentified bright objects in children with neurofibromatosis-1. Am J Med Genet A. 129A(2), 113-9.

Jansiewicz EM, Newschaffer CJ, Denckla MBMostofsky SH (2004). Impaired habituation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Cogn Behav Neurol. 17(1), 1-8.