Learning disorder diagnoses are dependent on behavioural assessments that cannot be administered until the school years. As such, children do not get access to extra attention and services they need until they have already fallen behind their peers. Gaining a better understanding of the aetiology and early risk factors of learning disorders is therefore crucial for optimising intervention and education. Dr. Merkley’s research aims to identify neural and cognitive markers of risk for struggling with math learning in particular. She is collecting longitudinal behavioural data in young children to map out learning trajectories and complementing this with fMRI investigations of the neural development of number processing. The lab group she currently works in also works collaboratively with educators to improve early assessment and intervention for children who struggle with math learning.