Two campuses of the University of California announced Oct. 10 they will create a new joint center for research on dyslexia and other learning differences, funded by a $20 million gift from financier Charles Schwab.
The center will draw on expertise in the neurology and psychiatry departments at the UC San Francisco medical school and psychology, education and public health departments at UC Berkeley. It will be called UCSF-UC Berkeley Schwab Dyslexia and Cognitive Diversity Center.
Schwab, the founder and chairman of the San Francisco-based Charles Schwab Corp. brokerage company, was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 40, after having struggled with reading and classroom learning as a child.
He said in a statement, “To help unveil the mysteries behind dyslexia and other learning challenges, we need to bring together a wide variety of experts in science, medicine, education, and public health. I’m proud to support this ambitious new center, which will do just that.”
The new organization will be co-directed by Marilu Gorno Tempini of the UCSF Dyslexia Center and UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw. It will have clinics and research space at both campuses.
Between 5 and 15 percent of school-age children have learning disorders, according to the university. About 80 percent of those disorders are dyslexia, defined as difficulty in recognizing written words and letters.
UCSF Neurology Department Chair S. Andrew Josephson stated, “Dyslexia and other learning disorders are complex, and to make progress we must embrace the perspectives of many disciplines, medical and nonmedical.”