Elke Baten

Elke BatenI am Elke Baten, clinical psychologist and working as a teaching assistant and PhD student within the Developmental Disorders lab. The promotor of my PhD research is Prof. dr. Annemie Desoete. This research focuses on (a)typical mathematical development in general and Mathematical Learning Disabilities (MLD) specifically. MLD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by mathematic skills substantially lower than expected with regard to the individual’s chronological age and by persisting math problems despite interventions that target those difficulties. Worldwide, 5-7% of children suffer from MLD.

By applying the Opportunity-Propensity Framework (Byrnes & Miller, 2006), we aim to investigate important differences between children with and without MLD with regards to cognitive and socio-emotional factors such as motivation. Motivation is conceptualized in terms of the Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985).

We also try to investigate which psychological factors contribute to math development over and above important cognitive factors such as intelligence. Here we focus on factors such as personality, motivation and well-being. By comparing the impact of these factors for different mathematical skills (in essence: procedural accuracy vs. arithmetic fact retrieval), we build on the foundation that mathematics is not unitary (Dowker, 2015). We conduct research in both schools and classrooms as well as individual research in children with and without MLD.

The combination of (cross-sectional and longitudinal) studies on group differences (MLD vs. typical) on the one hand and on studies on predicting math development on the other hand will provide us with more insights about the origin of (a)typical math development and MLD specifically. By trying to translate these insights into theoretical and practical knowledge, we aim to achieve practical handles for parents and teachers and to contribute to a more Universal Design for Learning.





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