The Centre was established in the Fall of 1967 with a grant given to the University of Alberta by The Canadian Association for Mental Retardation; it was then named the Centre for the Study of Mental Retardation. In 2009, the name was changed to the J.P. Das Centre on Developmental and Learning Disabilities, or Das Centre for short, to better reflect our current research foci.
The mission of Das Centre is to provide research, training, and some clinical services to people with developmental, perceptual and learning disabilities. Global developmental disabilities affect all areas of learning, while specific developmental, learning and perceptual disabilities may affect only one or a few areas of learning (e.g., reading or attention disorders). Our recent research topics have included:
1) The nature, assessment, and remediation of reading difficulties.
2) Reading in Deaf children and adults.
3) Social and cognitive compensation mechanisms of high-functioning individuals with learning disabilities.
4) Literacy acquisition across languages.
5) Working memory and reading comprehension.
6) The nature and remediation of cognitive processes.
7) Assessment of cognitive abilities as an alternative to intelligence assessment.
8) Attention and attention-deficit disorders.
9) Violence against people with disabilities.
10) The social significance of disability.
Graduate and postdoctoral students are encouraged to work with Das Centre and use its resources. Das Centre maintains a library of selected journals and books as well as several laboratory and testing facilities. Das Centre also publishes a journal (semi-annually), the Developmental Disabilities Bulletin. Das Centre frequently hosts visiting professors and accepts international scholars whose areas of research and clinical interest are similar to ours.