Your DNA could help us better understand the genetics of language disorders! 

We are currently recruiting participants who have been diagnosed with:

  • Language impairment
  • Expressive language disorder
  • Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder
  • Phonological/articulation disorder
  • Reading disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Apraxia
  • Other developmental disorders of speech and language

Participation takes roughly 20 minutes and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.  We will send you a mailed kit containing:

  • Consent form
  • Basic information sheet
  • Saliva collection kit
  • Behavioral/medical history questionnaire
  • Prepaid return mailer

If you or your family member is interested in participating, please email Natalie Pottschmidt at

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q. What is genomic research? 

A. Genomics is the study of a person’s genes, and how those genes interact with each other as well as with the person’s environment. The goal of genomic research is to determine how those interactions are related to complex diseases and disorders that are affected by both genetic and environmental factors. 

Q. Where is your lab located? 

A. Our lab is located in the Medical Laboratories, which is right next to the University of Iowa Hospital. 

Q. When does my participation in this study end? 

A. The majority of your participation in this study ends after the initial enrollment contact.  However, we may send you surveys periodically in order to collect more information about you and/or your child’s development after your initial visit.  Your participation in these follow-up surveys is purely voluntary.

In addition, the conditions for enrolling as a participant in this study require that you agree to be open to contact regarding follow-up studies.  If you change your mind at any point after your participation, you can contact us and ask to be removed from our list of follow-up participants.

Q. I don't have any of these conditions, but my child does. Why do you want my DNA and how could this be genetic? 

A. Sometimes a random mutation will occur in either the father's sperm or the mother's egg, and consequently the child may carry a change to their genetic code that neither the father nor the mother experienced as part of their own development. It is vital to have the DNA of parents as a point of reference when looking for genetic causes of these conditions. In other cases, the parents may have genetic differences that do indeed contribute to the condition observed in their child, but they might not show symptoms themselves because they also have other protective factors in their genomes. Part of our research interest is in better understanding why genetic risk factors manifest themselves clinically in some people but not in others. 

Q. Is this a way for me to get my genome sequenced for free? Will I get my results back? 

A. If we find a genetic variant that has substantial evidence that suggests a role in the conditions mentioned above, we will contact you regarding participation in follow-up studies. We will not return genetic results that do not have a strong connection to the conditions investigated in this study. 

For more information, contact Natalie Pottschmidt at