Mathematical learning disabilities in special populations: Phenotypic variation and cross-disorder comparisons

Maureen Dennis, Daniel B. Berch, Michèle M.M. Mazzocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


What is mathematical learning disability (MLD)? The reviews in this special issue adopt different approaches to defining the construct of MLD. Collectively, they demonstrate the current status of efforts to establish a consensus definition and the challenges faced in this endeavor. In this commentary, we reflect upon the proposed pathways to mathematical learning difficulties and disabilities presented across the reviews. Specifically we consider how each of the reviews contributes to identifying the MLD phenotype by specifying the range of assets and deficits in mathematics, identifying sources of individual variation, and characterizing the natural progression of MLD over the life course. We show how principled comparisons across disorders address issues about the cognitive and behavioral co-morbidities of MLD, and whether commonalities in brain dysmorphology are associated with common mathematics performance profiles. We project the status of MLD research ten years hence with respect to theoretical gains, advances in methodology, and principled intervention studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Disabilities Research Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive phenotypes
  • Dyscalculia
  • Math disabilities
  • Mathematical learning disabilities


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