Welcome to CRADL

The Consortium for Research on Atypical Development and Learning (CRADL) is a collective of individuals interested in development that is different from the norm. The term atypical refers to the target of our developmental questions that address the causes and expressions of differences between people and groups of people that tend to lie on either, or both, ends of the continuum of normal development.

We focus on deficits and talents in cognitive and learning-related behaviors such as intelligence, nonverbal or spatial abilities, and academic skills such as reading. This includes the study of individuals who are sometimes called “twice exceptional” because they have below average skills in one learning domain (e.g., reading or language) while also having above average skills in another domain (e.g., spatial processing or art).

Our aim is to describe and understand the brain mechanism, genetics, and behavioral expressions of such individuals. This work has implications for our understanding of how the brain develops, and important applications to the fields of learning disabilities and the basis of talent/high ability development.

The figure shows how many of the abilities we look at are conceptualized. The ability is measured and most people score in the middle range, while some smaller percentage scores in either extreme.  CRADL considers all behaviors that we measure as expressions of the variation in how the brain is structured and/or functions. It is noteworthy that just as test scores are theoretically normally distributed, so are people’s brains, and thus, brain variation (structure and function) may, in some cases, reflect normal and naturally occurring developmental variations in biology and neurology that we have yet to fully understand.