US tennis star Andre Agassi and award-winning ed tech company Square Panda have announced a new initiative to transform dyslexia assessment and intervention.
Readvolution, by The Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation, will engage scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Weill Institute for Neurosciences to produce the first scientifically validated technology for the scalable universal screening of dyslexia.
Dyslexia is thought to affect as much as 17 per cent of children in the US. While early intervention is highly effective, dyslexia often goes undetected until late elementary school years.
I am committed to helping improve children’s access to quality education as I know firsthand how important it is to have that choice.
At each junction in my 25-year involvement in education, I have strived to support solutions that could be scaled to create greater impact. By undertaking dyslexia assessment and remediation using the latest understandings from the neuroscience of early learners as the Foundation’s first project, it is the objective to not only make a life-changing impact on children but to also demonstrate the societal potential of this approach to all early learning challenges.
Square Panda is the Foundation’s first corporate partner. It will donate 10 per cent of the proceeds from sales of its award-winning phonics learning system to the initiative. As the initiative scales, it will seek additional support from industry leaders to further expand the relevant neuroscience research and create increasingly better tools.
We are thrilled to be a part of Readvolution as we recognise the impact democratising dyslexia assessment will have on today’s children and would like to extend an invitation to have other corporations join us in supporting the initiative.
While research has uncovered key principles that drive changes in the brain from quality education, these have not successfully been incorporated into practice. By helping to build educational apps grounded in research, we hope to positively impact this generation of children and to lay the future foundation for our society and economy.
The key to all learning is reading, and if a child struggles with reading, most other subjects in school, including STEM, will be greatly compromised. Through this new initiative we will help parents and teachers intervene early to get each child the help she or he needs.
Said Andy Butler, CEO of Square Panda.
The Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation will be housed in Silicon Valley, California, USA. It will focus exclusively on the work at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences to develop these tools.
As children engage with the apps during testing, the data will be utilised to further optimise dyslexia assessment. The goal is to provide appropriate interventions to each child as early as possible and prevent a lifetime of consequences associated with reading failure.