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John F. Connolly

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Our reading research has targeted basic mechanisms and the application of these findings to the investigation of dyslexic individuals. This research has employed, to date, both event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and magnetoencephalographic (MEG) techniques. Our contributions to the area include demonstrating an ERP component (N270) associated with the mapping of phonological features to printed text. Also, using MEG we have localized the N400 ERP component to perisylvian regions of the left hemisphere. This work is being conducted in collaboration with colleagues in Finland and Spell Read P.A.T. We have also discovered an ERP component (the phonological mismatch negativity, PMN) that reflects the brain’s “on-line” processing of the phonological features of speech. The PMN can be isolated from the semantic-linked N400 and localized differentially from the classic mismatch negativity (MMN) using MEG. Our clinical neuroscience themes centre on the application of our basic research to health-related issues. Thus, we investigate disorders characterized by language-related problems and use neural measures of language functions as assessment tools in language-impaired individuals. Research within our Innovative Methods of Assessment Program (IMAP) uses ERPs in association with our computerized adaptations of established neuropsychological tests to evaluate individuals who are difficult or impossible to assess by traditional methods (patients in post stroke, coma, persistent vegetative states, anesthetic states). The IMAP uses neurocognitive assessment methods with patients unable to execute either the motor or speech responses required of traditional assessment tests; ERPs effectively replace such patients’ lack of speech or motor responses. This research formed the basis of our award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation that funded our high resolution ERP system and the development of the Pediatric Pain Laboratory at the IWK Health Sciences Centre.

The language and culture of my heritage is passed on to me orally. it's a different way off learning than how I am taught at school. How do I keep my traditional culture alive while learning to read and being immersed in the majority culture?

Reading is the core of learning and staying in school . improving reading skills with young Aboriginal children can open up the doors to future prospects.

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