SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Square Panda and Andre Agassi today announced Readvolution, a new initiative by the Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation that aims to drive innovation in dyslexia assessment and intervention. Readvolution plans to engage scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Weill Institute for Neurosciences to produce the first scientifically validated technology for scalable universal screening of dyslexia. The initiative will foster innovation in neuroscience research to create new educational tools for dyslexia assessment and intervention with the goal of providing each child access to high-quality education.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difference in reading with neurobiological origin that affects as much as 17 percent of all children in the United States1. While early intervention is known to be highly effective, dyslexia often goes undetected until late elementary school years when effectiveness of intervention is greatly reduced. Specifically, research has shown that each year of delay in assessment can reduce the effectiveness of evidence-based quality reading intervention by as much as 50 percent2.
In an effort to intervene and provide every child with the opportunity to succeed, Andre Agassi has formed the Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation to help fund the research and development of early literacy apps led by UCSF scientists. The Foundation’s mission is to maximize learning success in early childhood in an effort to tackle disparities through innovation in the neuroscience of learning. Together the parties will apply the latest scientifically proven assessments and interventions to empower every dyslexic child, regardless of their socio-economic status, language background or access to education, to achieve their true potential.
“I am committed to helping improve children’s access to quality education as I know firsthand how important it is to have that choice,” said Agassi. “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, a Silicon Valley-based educational technology company and maker of an award-winning phonics learning system, is the first corporate partner of the Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation. Square Panda will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from sales of its multisensory learning system to the effort. As the initiative scales, it seeks additional support from industry leaders to further expand the relevant neuroscience research and create increasingly better tools for assessment and intervention.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Readvolution as we recognize the impact democratizing 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,” said Andy Butler, CEO of Square Panda. “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.”
The Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation, an effort conceptualized by Agassi and Square Panda, will be housed in Silicon Valley and focused exclusively on the work being advanced at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, in collaboration with other future institutional partners, to bring the effort to life. As children engage with the apps during testing, the data will be utilized to further optimize 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. These include low self-esteem, depression and anxiety around the ability to learn and succeed.
About Square Panda
Square Panda™ is the award-winning phonics learning system with multisensory play. Designed for kids two and older, the playset blends physical and digital learning as it keeps kids entertained through age-appropriate learning games grounded in research-based curriculum. Early readers play their way to reading fluency as they engage with physical smart letters that connect them to a library of learning games. Every play session guides children as they explore the alphabet, letter sounds, discover rhymes, build vocabulary and more. For more information, visit www.squarepanda.com.
1Shaywitz S (1998): Current Concepts: Dyslexia. N Engl J Med 338:307–312.
2 Al Otaiba & Fuchs. J Learn Dis 2006.