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J Learn Disabil. 2012 Jan-Feb;45(1):79-95. doi: 10.1177/0022219410393012. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

The cognitive and academic profiles of reading and mathematics learning disabilities.

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  • 1Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA. donald.l.compton@vanderbilt.edu


The purpose of this study was to examine the cognitive and academic profiles associated with learning disability (LD) in reading comprehension, word reading, applied problems, and calculations. The goal was to assess the specificity hypothesis, in which unexpected underachievement associated with LD is represented in terms of distinctive patterns of cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses. At the start of 3rd grade, the authors assessed 684 students on five cognitive dimensions (nonverbal problem solving, processing speed, concept formation, language, and working memory), and across Grades 3 through 5, the authors assessed performance in each academic area three to four times. Based on final intercept, the authors classified students as LD or not LD in each of the four academic areas. For each of these four LD variables, they conducted multivariate cognitive profile analysis and academic profile analysis. Results, which generally supported the specificity hypothesis, are discussed in terms of the potential connections between reading and mathematics LD.

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