lyytikainen.pngProject leader:

Prof. Heikki Lyytinen

ahonen.jpgCo-project leader:

Prof. Timo Ahonen

Senior researchers

Senior Researchers:
Academy Research Fellow Minna Torppa
Postdoctoral researcher Kenneth Eklund
Prof. Mikko Aro
Prof. Marja-Leena Laakso
Prof. Paavo Leppänen
Prof. Matti Leiwo
Prof. Paula Lyytinen
Prof. Anna-Maija Poikkeus
Prof. Ulla Richardson

Data management / contact


Tomi Guttorm
Sini Huemer
Johanna Katajamäki
Ritva Ketonen
Seija Leinonen
Annamaija Oksanen
Riitta Pennala
Gavin Price
Nina Saine
Paula Salmi
Päivi Torvelainen
Pirjo Kulju


This prospective follow-up study of dyslexia is the longest in the world to include, starting from birth, children with a familial risk for dyslexia. It aims to identify dyslexia’s early precursors, and thus its roots, by comparing the early development of children born with a familial risk for dyslexia to that of the controls. The sample of subjects has been screened from more than 8,000 families expecting a baby between 1993 and 1996 in the Central Finland area to find families with a dyslexic parent who also had a close dyslexic relative. The research consists of a comprehensive developmental follow-up of 108 children from these at-risk families and a matched control group of 92 children. From Grade 1 onwards the development of classmates (N = 1,500–2,500) has also been followed. In January 2015, the participants were 20 years old and data gathering was still underway.


The children were originally selected from among 9,368 babies born in the region of Central Finland between April 1993 and July 1996. The selection was made using a three-stage procedure: (1) a short parental questionnaire including three questions concerning difficulties in learning to read and spell among parents and their close relatives; (2) a detailed parental questionnaire concerning the reading history, the persistence of reading and spelling difficulties, and the reading habits of parents and their close relatives; (3) testing of their reading and spelling skills.

For the child to be originally included in the family risk group, one of the parents had to show deficient performance in (1) oral text reading or spelling, and (2) single-word reading tasks tapping phonological and orthographic processing. In addition, inclusion in the familial risk group required a reported onset of literacy problems during early school years and a first-degree relative with corresponding difficulties. In the control group, both parents had no reported family history for dyslexia and a z score above -1.0 in all reading and spelling tasks described above. The IQ of all parents, assessed with the Raven B, C, and D matrices (Raven, Court, & Raven, 1992), had to be equal to or above 80 (for full details of recruitment, see Leinonen et al., 2001).


Areas of interes



  • U.Goswami (Cambridge University)
  • K. Pugh (Haskins Laboratories)
  • D. Brandeis (University of Zürich and Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim)
  • E. Grigorenko (Moscow State University / Yale University)
  • F. Hoeft (Stanford University)
  • J. Kere (Karolinska Institutet)
  • T. Kujala (Helsingin Yliopisto)
  • G. Schulte-Körne (Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München)
  • D. Molfese (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • G. Georgiou (University of Alberta).

Data collection and methods

At present, January 2015, data gathering for young adults of JLD children and their classmates is underway. A detailed list of tests, questionnaires and other measures used at each assessment phase is presented here.



  • The Academy of Finland, Research Programme on the Health and Welfare of Children and Young People (SKIDI-KIDS), 2013–2015
  • University of Jyväskylä, 2011–2012
  • The Academy of Finland, Center of Excellence, Learning and Motivation Research, 2006–2011
  • The Academy of Finland, Center of Excellence, Human Development and Its Risk Factors, 1997–2005
  • Finland's Slot Machine Association (RAY) 1995–1999
  • The Academy of Finland 1995–1997
  • University of Jyväskylä 1994
  • The Academy of Finland 1992–1994