Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Cognitive and Academic Profiles of Reading and Mathematics Learning Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities

Compton, D.L., Fuchs, L.S., Fuchs, D., Lambert, W., & Hamlett, C. (2012). The cognitive and academic profiles of reading and mathematics learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45, 79-95.

This study examined the profiles of strengths and weaknesses across cognitive dimensions and across academic domains in children with learning disabilities. Over 600 children completed academic measures of reading comprehension, word reading, applied problems, and calculations, as well as cognitive measures of nonverbal problem solving, processing speed, concept formation, language, and working memory. Data were available at 3 time points for each child allowing modeling of the final learning disability status for each academic measure (at 5th grade) based on cognitive or academic performance.

Results revealed specific rather than general learning profiles in those with a learning disability, but a relatively flat profile for those without a learning disability. Children identified with a learning difficulty in each of the four academic measures tested tended to be low on that measure only (i.e., reading comprehension) and not the other academic tasks (i.e., word reading, applied problems, and calculations). As well, the cognitive profiles of these learning disability groups reflected specific impairments. A learning disability in reading comprehension was associated with low language relative to the other cognitive dimensions measured. Word reading disability was linked to relatively low working memory and language, and applied problems learning disability to relatively low concept formation. A learning disability in calculations was associated with a flat cognitive profile.

Overall results suggest that a specific deficit profile may characterize children with learning disabilities. Nevertheless, caution is warranted in interpreting these findings given the sample size within each profile group.

Blogger: Lisa Archibald

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