Linguistic influences in mathematics have previously been explored throughsubtyping methodology and by taking advantage of the componential nature ofmathematics and variations in language requirements that exist across tasks. Thepresent longitudinal investigation aimed to examine the language requirements of mathematical tasks in young children aged 5-7 years. Initially, 256 children were screened for mathematics and reading difficulties using standardised measures. Those scoring at or below the 35th percentile on either dimension were classified as having difficulty. From this screening, 115 children were allocated to each of the MD (n=26), MDRD (n=32), reading difficulty (RD, n=22) and typically achieving (TA, n=35) subtypes. These children were tested at four time points, separated by six monthly intervals, on a battery of seven mathematical tasks. Growth curve analysis indicated that, in contrast to previous research on older children, young children with MD and MDRD had very similar patterns of development on all mathematical tasks. Overall, the subtype comparisons suggested that language played only a minor mediating role in most tasks, and this was secondary in importance to non-verbal skills. Correlational evidence suggested that children from the different subtypescould have been using different mixes of verbal and non-verbal strategies to solve the mathematical problems.
- mathematical difficulties