This Learning Disabilities Hub (Word Problems, Language, &Comorbid Learning Disabilities) comprises an Administrative Core and a Research Project, with a transdisciplinary focus that spans learning sciences, speech-language sciences, &learning disabilities (LD). This is a critical form of transdisciplinary collaboration because evidence increasingly implicates difficulty with language comprehension in LD. The Research Project, which serves to center the mentorship and transdisciplinary collaboration, addresses a subset of the LD population that has been understudied and may suffer disproportionately poor response to math problem solving (MPS) intervention. This understudied population is students with comorbid MPS &reading comprehension difficulty (i.e., MDRD). With this population, we investigate a high-risk innovative approach to LD remediation, in which intervention on language comprehension (LC), a cognitive resource associated with comorbidity and MPS learning, is embedded in the same academic material used for direct skills MPS intervention. In a randomized control trial, we identify students with comorbidity on higher-order skill (MDRDH) vs. students with specific math disability on higher-order skill (MD-H). Stratifying by comorbid status, we randomly assign students to embedded LC+MPS intervention, MPS intervention alone, &no tutoring. LC+MPS intervention is designed to address LC difficulty, hypothesized to affect MDRD more than MD students. MPS intervention alone is designed to compensate for difficulty with a cognitive resource (working memory) thought to pertain similarly to both subtypes. The Hub's Administrative Core has 2 functions that support and enrich the Research Project. The Scientific &Administrative Support Arm provides services on space, budget, and human resources;the Hub's progress and scientific productivity;within-Hub management of publication decisions;within-hub data sharing;external data sharing;external communication with the public on research findings and clinical products;and implementation of the benchmarking system to evaluate the success of Core A. The Early Career Mentorship Arm provides support on implementation of the formal mentorship, aligned with the broader career development goals of the early career investigators within the Hub's transdisciplinary framework;intra- and inter-institutional recruitment of early career investigators;implementation of a benchmarking system to evaluate success of the mentorship plan;and assistance to early investigators in transitioning to other funding options or career appointments. The Hub impacts science by increasing understanding about higher-order comorbidity as an LD subtyping framework and the role of LC in MPS and in comorbidity and by training a group of early career scientists who can operate within a transdisciplinary framework spanning learning sciences, speech-language sciences, &LD. Results may expand the framework for treating LDs by embedding cognitive resource training on other potentially active cognitive resources for other LDs. This may impact clinical practice.

Public Health Relevance

Learning disabilities (LD) in math problem solving are common and have major, negative impact on employment, social relationships, health, and quality of life. Understanding higher-order comorbidity as an D subtyping framework,with the goal of differentiating intervention, is important for improving LD students' identification, prevention, and treatment. A transdisciplinary focus, bridging learning sciences, speechlanguage sciences, &LD, creates the possibility for synergy to address LD students'difficulty with language comprehension in the context of math problem solving.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DRG-H (52))
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Mann Koepke, Kathy M
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Education
United States
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Fuchs, Lynn S; Geary, David C; Fuchs, Douglas et al. (2016) Pathways to Third-Grade Calculation Versus Word-Reading Competence: Are They More Alike or Different? Child Dev 87:558-67
Fuchs, Lynn S; Gilbert, Jennifer K; Powell, Sarah R et al. (2016) The role of cognitive processes, foundational math skill, and calculation accuracy and fluency in word-problem solving versus prealgebraic knowledge. Dev Psychol 52:2085-2098
Namkung, Jessica M; Fuchs, Lynn S (2016) Cognitive Predictors of Calculations and Number Line Estimation with Whole Numbers and Fractions among At-Risk Students. J Educ Psychol 108:214-228
Seethaler, Pamela M; Fuchs, Lynn S; Fuchs, Douglas et al. (2016) Does the Value of Dynamic Assessment in Predicting End-of-First-Grade Mathematics Performance Differ as a Function of English Language Proficiency? Elem Sch J 117:171-191
Malone, Amelia S; Fuchs, Lynn S (2016) Error Patterns in Ordering Fractions Among At-Risk Fourth-Grade Students. J Learn Disabil :
Fuchs, Lynn S; Fuchs, Douglas; Compton, Donald L et al. (2015) Is Word-Problem Solving a Form of Text Comprehension? Sci Stud Read 19:204-223
Fuchs, Lynn S; Fuchs, Douglas; Compton, Donald L (2013) Intervention effects for students with comorbid forms of learning disability: understanding the needs of nonresponders. J Learn Disabil 46:534-48