Katharina LambertBirgit Spinath

Do we need a special intervention program for children with mathematical learning disabilities or is private tutoring sufficient?

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The present study examined the effects of the remediation program Waterglass Intervention Program (WIP; Schlotmann, 2004) for children with mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) compared to the effects of private tutoring. In a prepost-test control group design, the data of n = 26 children (age = 8.86, SD = 1.40) who attended the WIP and n = 20 children (age = 8.45, SD = 0.68) who received private tutoring was analyzed. Intervention outcomes were investigated using a standardized math achievement test, math school grades, as well as parents’ judgements. Data analysis revealed that children who attended the WIP showed a greater improvement of math skills and maths grades compared to children who received private tutoring. 17 children treated with the WIP but only 2 children who received private tutoring reached a percentile > 29 at the end of the intervention course. According to ICD-10 criteria, these children would no longer receive an MLD diagnosis. Parents whose children attended the WIP specified higher gains for mathematical abilities but not for psychosocial functioning or MLD symptoms for their children than parents did for the private tutoring group. The results indicate that the WIP is more effective for the remediation of MLD compared to private tutoring.

Mathematical learning disabilities; Private tutoring; Waterglass Intervention Program (WIP)