Dr. Theodore has received a 3-year grant from the NIH NIDCD to examine phonetic category structure in individuals with and without specific language impairment (LI). Specific language impairment (LI) is a common child learning disorder that can persist into adulthood and puts individuals at risk for other disabilities including learning disability, reading disability, and failure to thrive in academic environments. The proposed research will use fMRI neuroimaging and behavioral methods to compare phonetic category structure in individuals with and without LI with respect to (1) how phonetic category structure is represented in the brain and (2) how phonetic category structure is dynamically modified as a consequence of exposure to phonetic variation. These findings will result in improved specification of the etiology of LI, which can be used to develop more targeted rehabilitation protocols. The title of the grant is “Determinants of phonetic category structure in language impairment.”