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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Miller, Brett
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Education
United States
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Namkung, Jessica M; Fuchs, Lynn S; Koziol, Natalie (2018) Does Initial Learning about the Meaning of Fractions Present Similar Challenges for Students with and without Adequate Whole-Number Skill? Learn Individ Differ 61:151-157
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
Rhodes, Katherine T; Branum-Martin, Lee; Washington, Julie A et al. (2017) Measuring arithmetic: A psychometric approach to understanding formatting effects and domain specificity. J Educ Psychol 109:956-976
Malone, Amelia S; Fuchs, Lynn S (2017) Error Patterns in Ordering Fractions Among At-Risk Fourth-Grade Students. J Learn Disabil 50:337-352
Gilbert, Jennifer K; Fuchs, Lynn S (2017) Bivariate Developmental Relations between Calculations and Word Problems: A Latent Change Approach. Contemp Educ Psychol 51:83-98
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
Powell, Sarah R; Cirino, Paul T; Malone, Amelia S (2017) Child-Level Predictors of Responsiveness to Evidence-Based Mathematics Intervention. Except Child 83:359-377
Wang, Amber Y; Fuchs, Lynn S; Fuchs, Douglas (2016) Cognitive and Linguistic Predictors of Mathematical Word Problems With and Without Irrelevant Information. Learn Individ Differ 52:79-87
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
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

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