In 2014 a research clinic for children with problems in the areas of attention, learning and/ or memory was established at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC CBU). The clinic is located in the Centre for Attention, Learning and Memory (CALM), a family-friendly developmental research facility based at the MRC CBU. The MRC CBU is part of The University of Cambridge, funded through a strategic partnership between the Medical Research Council and the University.
The mission of the CALM clinic is to identify the cognitive, behavioural, neural and genetic dimensions that underpin a broad range of cognitive difficulties faced in childhood. These data will enable us and our partners to identify phenotypes with the aim of understanding basic underpinning mechanisms, develop appropriate diagnostic techniques, and create new effective interventions. An intermediate benefit of the clinic is the establishment of a research panel that is being used to recruit children with targeted cognitive and behavioural profiles for other research studies.
To achieve this, we recruit a wide range of children with problems in the areas of attention, learning, and/ or memory via children’s community services such as education, speech and language therapy, child and adolescent mental health, and paediatrics. Children attending the clinic include those struggling with academic learning, as well as individuals with diagnoses such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD and Specific Language Impairment. These problems are often comorbid and accompany mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The only recruitment exclusions are for children with hearing or vision problems of sufficient severity to make our standard instruments unsuitable, and for children who are not native English speakers.