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.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
Project #
5R24HD075443-03
Application #
8689129
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
Program Officer
Mann Koepke, Kathy M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Education
DUNS #
City
Nashville
State
TN
Country
United States
Zip Code
37212
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