Cognitive tutoring overcomes mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) in children

Cognitive tutoring overcomes mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) in children
 

Competency with numbers is essential in today’s society; yet, up to 20% of children exhibit moderate to severe mathematical learning disabilities (MLD)Behavioral intervention can be effective, but the neurobiological mechanisms underlying successful intervention are unknown.
Researchers demonstrate that eight weeks of 1:1 cognitive tutoring not only remediates poor performance in children with MLD, but also induces widespread changes in brain activity.
Neuroplasticity manifests as normalization of aberrant functional responses in a distributed network of parietal, prefrontal and ventral temporal–occipital areas that support successful numerical problem solving, and is correlated with performance gains.
Remarkably, machine learning algorithms show that brain activity patterns in children with MLD are significantly discriminable from neurotypical peers before, but not after, tutoring, suggesting that behavioral gains are not due to compensatory mechanisms.
This study identifies functional brain mechanisms underlying effective intervention in children with MLD and provides novel metrics for assessing response to intervention.

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150930/ncomms9453/full/ncomms9453.html
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