Project BILD (Brain Imaging Language Development)

This collaborative study between Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at language, reading and cognitive abilities during childhood. Our research team included neuroscientists, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and educators. We assessed our participants in the areas of language, reading and cognition.  Participants also completed language activities. We aimed to examine how a child’s brain responds using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).  The MRI machine utilizes a large magnet to record brain activity. During the MRI our participants played games and watched a movie.

This video from the Gabrieli Lab at MIT explains what to expect when participating in an MRI study:

Who participated? 

Our participants were children and teens aged 5-17. This includes boys and girls who are native speakers of English and who have a language based learning disorder, have an autism spectrum disorder, or are typically developing.

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What did participants do?

Our participants completed a battery of measures design to assess their language and cognitive abilities.

It is our hope to advance scientific understanding of the typical and atypical development of language and reading using the data that we collected. During the study and in our continuing data analyses, our overaching goal is to help parents, clinicians, and educators in their diagnostic and remediation efforts with children with language and reading difficulties.