The Reading Development Study  is the first of its kind in the US and aims to understand how reading skills develop in students with various intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Our goal is to help improve reading instruction for elementary children with significant support needs through better understanding of how they develop in important reading and language skills such as letter knowlege, concepts about print, word reading, vocabulary, and much more.   

At the end of the study, we will have longitudinal development data for children in grades 1 through 5 that hopefully will privide a clear picture of what kind of growth teachers should expect.  We also want to understand the context the children are developing within and will interview parents and teachers about their literacy practices and instructional choices. 



We are currently recruiting children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Grades K, 1, 2.  We will do the screening necessary this year and the full data collection will begin Fall 2020. 

The label that they are served under in Special Education is not important.  They can be in public or private school. What matters is that they fit our criteria of < 2 SD in adapative functioning AND <2 SD in IQ.  Children with these characteristics are often served in special education under categories such as ASD, Developmental Disability, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Other Health Impairments. 

Benefits for Families

  • Screening to see if your child qualifies
  • Choice of 3 locations for testing--our research office, your child's school, or other close location such as library or home
  • $50 for family time and effort
  • Free yearly assessments in reading and language
  • We will only share assessment data eith your child's teacher if you give permission


Contact us for more information!

Parents, if you are interested in learning more about this project or want to know how to enroll, click here.