First Funding Phase


An evaluation of two interventions for children with reading and spelling disorder and determining the effects on neuropsychological and neurophysiological correlates

Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a specific impairment in learning to read despite normal intelligence, adequate schooling and no sensory deficits. It belongs to the most common developmental disorders. About 5% of school children in Germany suffer from this disorder and its consequences. Therefore, the attainment of sustainable intervention effects in children is crucial. However, empirical studies describing the effectiveness of interventions for children with reading and writing disorders report only marginal or average effect sizes. On the neural level, the identification of the activation of a neural network during reading and spelling tasks makes it possible to establish and describe neurophysiological correlates associated to learning processes related to reading and spelling acquisition.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate two established intervention concepts, one reading and one spelling training for primary school children, by means of neuropsychological and neurophysiological investigation. Two groups of third grade children with DD participated in a longitudinal study with a pre-post-follow up test-design and received intensive support (either reading or spelling training) for a six month period and were compared to a control wait-group of affected children which received training only after this six month wait period and a group of children without reading and spelling disorder. Sustainability of intervention effects was investigated one year after intervention.

On the one hand neuropsychological data was assessed in order to draw conclusions regarding the efficacy of intervention programs. On the other hand neurophysiological activity was measured using electroencephalography (EEG). The integration of a neurophysiological paradigm allows assessing neurophysiological correlates of normal and deficient reading and spelling processes and further measuring neurophyisological changes of deficient processes due to intervention.


The main aims of the research project were:

Understanding neuropsychological and neurophysiological correlates of intervention: Which processes and neurophysiological correlates are changed by intervention? Which neurophysiological and neuropsychological variables are related to response to intervention?

Examination of the sustainability of intervention effects on the neuropsychological and neurophysiological level after one year.


The project ran three years from March 2010 until March 2013. During this period the six-month intervention, pre-post-follow-up-testing on the neuropsycholgical and neurophysiological level and data analyses took place.
The neuropsychological test battery included measures of phonology, working memory, intelligence, arithmetic, spelling and reading. On the neurophysiological level event-related potentials were assessed during a phonological lexical decision task.
The sample includes 62 eight-to-ten year old children with DD and 28 age-matched typically developing children. Children with DD were divided into three groups: 1. spelling intervention (n=20); 2 reading intervention (n=22); 3 control wait-group (n=20). Children with DD received intervention twice a week for 6 month in an individual setting. All children completed 38 units each lasting 45min.


  • Prof. Dr. Gerd Schulte-Körne (Project management, University of Munich LMU)
  • Staff

    Jennifer Bruder (Psychologin, M.Sc.)
    Katarina Groth (Psychologin, M.Sc.)
    Sandra Hasko (Dipl-Psych.)
    Sarah Kunze (BTA)

  • Clinic and Polyclinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics und Psychotherapy