Despite important advances in the treatment of learning disabilities (LDs), the dominant approach to intervention?direct skills instruction?fails to meet the needs of 25-40% of students with learning disabilities (LDs). Research is therefore required on innovative approaches that target the specific needs of subgroups of LD students (LD subtypes) to expand the framework for LD intervention. This LD Innovative Hub addresses an LD subtype that spans math problem solving (MPS) & reading comprehension (RC). This subset of the LD population (a) has been understudied, (b) experiences disproportionately poor response to intervention, and (c) has a distinctive set of needs. This Hub brings together a transdisciplinary team of researchers, spanning learning sciences, second language learning, LDs, and developmental psychology, to investigate a high-risk innovative approach to LD intervention tailored for this understudied and vulnerable population. The Hub?s approach involves embedding language comprehension instruction in direct skills intervention, with instructional scaffolding to explicitly connect MPS, RC, & language comprehension demands. The goal is to improve both outcomes with a unified approach to intervention. This scientific focus represents a unifying theme across the Hub?s Core and Project to achieve 4 aims: (1) advancing scientific understanding of LDs on a high-impact but understudied public health topic to identify directions that provide the field with novel solutions for improving outcomes; (2) relying on a transdisciplinary approach to build the intellectual infrastructure & a body of compelling, mature research findings to permit the transition of this Hub to an LD Research Center and other NIH program or funding opportunities; (3) cultivating a new generation of LD researchers; and (4) ensuring the relevance of this Hub?s scientific contributions and the future contributions of this Hub?s new generation of LD researchers for underrepresented groups.

Public Health Relevance

Math problem solving (MPS) is the best school-age predictor of later employment & wages, and reading comprehension (RC) supports learning during & after school. A learning disability (LD) in either domain undermines quality of life & financial security. Yet, LDs that span MPS & RC are common; they are inadequately researched and poorly understood; and they result in worse outcomes than does difficulty in just one of these domains. Therefore, LDs across MPS & RC (i.e., comorbid LDs) are a serious and understudied public health problem.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
Program Officer
Miller, Brett
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Education
United States
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Powell, Sarah R; Fuchs, Lynn S (2018) Effective Word-Problem Instruction: Using Schemas to Facilitate Mathematical Reasoning. Teach Except Child 51:31-42
Fuchs, Lynn S; Gilbert, Jennifer K; Fuchs, Douglas et al. (2018) Text Comprehension and Oral Language as Predictors of Word-Problem Solving: Insights into Word-Problem Solving as a Form of Text Comprehension. Sci Stud Read 22:152-166
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Schumacher, Robin F; Malone, Amelia S (2017) Error Patterns with Fraction Calculations at Fourth Grade as a Function of Students' Mathematics Achievement Status. Elem Sch J 118:105-127
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Malone, Amelia S; Loehr, Abbey M; Fuchs, Lynn S (2017) The Role of Domain-General Cognitive Abilities and Decimal Labels in At-Risk Fourth-Grade Students' Decimal Magnitude Understanding. Learn Individ Differ 58:90-96

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