Predicting Responsiveness to Reading Intervention with fMRI
Barquero, Laura Alley
Previous studies have shown that some children with reading difficulties (RD) respond well to reading intervention while others do not. The purpose of this study was to examine whether functional neuroimaging prior to intervention could be used to distinguish intervention responders from nonresponders. The participants were 54 children and adolescents (8-14 years of age) who were assigned to groups of RD receiving treatment (RD, n=23), RD waitlisted for treatment (RD-WL, n=16), and typically developing readers receiving no treatment (TD, n=15). The RD and TD participants performed a single word reading task during fMRI scanning prior to intervention. RD participants received 15 hours of intensive reading intervention. Before and after implementation of the treatment, word-level reading measures were administered and word-level growth was used to determine responsiveness status. Whole brain and region of interest (ROI) analyses of reading-related areas both revealed that nonresponders differed from responders, and that nonresponders showed greater dissimilarity from TD than did responders. Multivariate pattern analysis indicated that pre-intervention behavioral measures and functional imaging were comparable in sorting responders and nonresponders.