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Vanderbilt Kennedy Center guest speaker to discuss new possibilities for early identification and intervention for learning disabilities

Apr. 6, 2004, 10:57 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Do dyslexia, ADHD and speech and language
disorders occur jointly in some children because of a shared genetic
cause? Bruce Pennington, Ph.D., a world-renowned geneticist, will
address this question in a lecture in the series on development and
developmental disabilities on Thursday, April 8, at 4 p.m. at the
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.

During his talk, "Comorbidities of Dyslexia: ADHD and
Speech/Language Disorders," Pennington will discuss his research, which
has the potential to radically improve diagnosis and treatment of
learning disorders.

Pennington is testing the hypothesis that the occurrence of both
dyslexia and some speech and language disorders in some children is due
to shared genes. He and his collaborators are examining several risk
locations that they have identified for dyslexia to determine if they
also influence speech delay.

Pennington’s research may lead to earlier intervention for children with learning disabilities and ADHD.

"Once we understand the causes, we can begin to figure out what
brain systems they act on and what early aspects of cognitive
development they affect," Pennington said. "This information will allow
early identification and intervention for learning disabilities. We can
begin to work with kids at an earlier stage."

Pennington is a past recipient of a National Institute of Mental
Health (NIMH) Research Scientist Development Award as well as an NIMH
Merit Award. Hislecture will take place at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center/MRL Building, Room 241. It is free and open to the public.

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is a national center for research on
development and developmental disabilities. For more information, visit or contact Stephanie Comer at (615) 322-8240.

Media contact: Stephanie Comer, (615) 322-8240

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