Developing an Early Mathematics Intervention for Children with Disabilities in the Home Learning Environment

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Funding Source
National Science Foundation, Division Of Research On Learning, Continuing Grant, Discovery Research K-12
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Co-Principal Investigator


The home mathematics environment (HME) includes characteristics of the family and home setting that contribute to children developing mathematical understanding and skills. Intervention studies indicate that activities conducted in the HME are critical to the development of early mathematics skills and can support children as they transition from informal to formal school settings, such as from preschool to kindergarten. Although many HME interventions have demonstrated significant and positive effects on children?s mathematics outcomes, researchers have overwhelmingly focused on typically developing children, often excluding students with disabilities. This is problematic because children with disabilities often enter school with lower mathematics skills compared to their typically developing peers and require supplemental support in mathematics. The purpose of this project is to develop a HME intervention for preschool-aged children with developmental delays (DD). The project includes caregivers of children with DD as collaborators in the iterative design process to develop feasible and sustainable HME intervention activities. The two aims of the project are to: (1) iteratively develop a HME intervention targeting whole number concepts; and (2) conduct a small-scale pilot study of the HME intervention to establish the initial promise of the HME intervention in improving children?s mathematics achievement. To accomplish these goals the team will use an iterative design and development process, collect multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative data, and conduct a small pilot study with 80 caregiver-child dyads. Research questions will investigate the effect of the HME intervention on several outcomes: child numeracy and mathematics vocabulary, caregiver mathematics beliefs, caregiver-reported frequency of mathematics activities, caregiver-child mathematics talk, social validity, and fidelity of implementation. The project addresses the need for research-based HME interventions for young children with disabilities. The HME intervention is designed to be supplemental to and build upon the math instruction that children receive as part of their preschool curriculum.