How cognitive strengths compensate weaknesses related to specific learning difficulties in fourth-grade children
Number of pages
SourceFrontiers in Psychology, 12, (2021), article 552458
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Frontiers in Psychology
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
The goal of the present study was to investigate whether children's cognitive strengths can compensate the accompanied weaknesses related to their specific learning difficulties. A Bayesian multigroup mediation SEM analysis in 281 fourth-grade children identified a cognitive compensatory mechanism in children with mathematical learning difficulties (n = 36): Children with weak number sense, but strong rapid naming performed slightly better on mathematics compared to peers with weak rapid naming. In contrast, a compensatory mechanism was not identified for children with a comorbid mathematical and reading difficulty (n = 16). One explanation for the latter finding could relate to the lack of ability to compensate, because of the difficulties these children experience in both academic domains. These findings lead to a new direction in research on learning difficulties in mathematics and/or reading by suggesting that children with a learning disability each have a unique profile of interrelated cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Children might compensate with these strengths for their weaknesses, which could lead to (small) learning gains in the affected domain.
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