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Centre for Neuroscience in Education


Botnar Project

Improving Low Frequency Speech Envelope Encoding in Developmental Dyslexia: Remediating Impaired Neuronal Oscillatory Entrainment via Assistive Listening Technology

The Fondation Botnar awarded Professor Goswami funding in 2017 to develop specialised training programmes and remediation technology for dyslexia based on altering the speech signal in subtle ways to enhance rhythmic perception. Listening to this ‘assisted speech’ is expected to help participating children’s educational development and improve their quality of life.

Our research has previously found developmental links between children’s awareness of rhythm in speech and their progress in reading. The Botnar project is testing the efficacy of educational interventions based on this research, including a poetry / music oral rhythm intervention and the speech signal interventions described above using assistive listening technology. The latter aim to help the brain to hear speech rhythm patterns more clearly. The new technology filters natural speech to amplify the rhythm cues in the speech signal that are processed poorly by children with reading difficulties. We measure efficacy via pre- and post-intervention brain imaging, and by documenting children's progress in reaching reading and language milestones, over a 5-year period.

We have enrolled 120 primary school children who are receiving short, game-like tasks to assess their listening skills using computer-generated rhythmic and varied stimuli. We are also measuring language, reading, memory and attention skills. These school-based assessments occur yearly, and the different interventions are given over one school term each year. We are measuring automatic brain responses to the interventions, and to sound and rhythm in general, using two specialist, non-invasive methods, EEG and MEG.

Find out more information about the Botnar project

Find out more about how children's brain need time to develop crucial listening skills

Find out more about our recent publications.

Further Information