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NetherlandsThe Rudolf Berlin Center (RBC) is a university center in the field of learning disabilities. The center has three pillars, that is, conducting scientific research, providing specialized clinical care, and educating master students in the area of learning disabilities. The RBC was founded in 2012 as a partnership between the programme group Developmental Psychology of the University of  Amsterdam and the IWAL Institute, in order to integrate fundamental and applied research, education and clinical care in the field of learning disabilities. This center is a concretization of a long-term cooperation between the IWAL Institute and the programme group Developmental Psychology of the University of Amsterdam.

R Berlin 1(1)The center honors prof. dr. Rudolf Berlin (1833-1897). The German physician Rudolf Berlin was a pioneer who was the first to describe the syndrome ‘dyslexia’ in his work “Eine besondere Art der Wortblindheit (Dyslexie)” in 1887. He used this term to describe reading problems which were not the result of visual impairments. Speech was not disturbed either and he assumed the cause of these reading problems was in the left hemisphere.

His coining of the term ‘dyslexia’ and his systematic description of this condition formed the basis of modern research into dyslexia. More information on the life and work of Rudolf Berlin can be found here. We commemorated his 125th birthday with the opening of the Rudolf Berlin Center.

Mission

The mission of the Rudolf Berlin Center (RBC) is to conduct scientific research, to train clinical specialists, and to provide specialized clinical care in the field of learning processes, and in particular learning disabilities. It is a scientific and clinical center, and its goal is to integrate new scientific insights in learning processes and learning disabilities with societally and clinically relevant applications. The RBC aims to improve the quality of life of persons with learning disabilities. The population of the RBC primarily consists of pre-school and school-aged children (3-18 years-olds) and higher education students with a specific learning disability.

By integrating scientific research, education, and clinical care we hope to achieve a synergetic effect, that is,

  • clinical care informs, inspires and facilitates scientific research;
  • the combination of research and clinical care provides a unique opportunity for master students to combine their master thesis and internship within the center, and to become a specialist in the field of learning disabilities;
  • feeded by new scientific insights and by the inflow of specialized young behavioral scientists, the center will be able to provide innovative and evidence-based clinical care to children with learning disabilities.

Goals

  • scientific research,
  • clinical health care,
  • education for master students, and,
  • advise in the area of learning processes and learning disabilities.

Approach

In order to attain our goals, we set up a research programme in which fundamental and applied research are integrated. The programme puts a strong emphasise on the societal and clinical relevance of the research lines. The interplay between clinical care and scientific research forms a central mechanism within the center.

The challenges of learning disabilities at school and in society are at the basis of our research lines. In turn, these research lines aim to contribute to the development of new methods for education and to the optimalisation of diagnostic assessment and treatment within health care practice.

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