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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
Interdisciplinary working group


Tree roots form a complex system of predominantly centrally arranged root shoots. However, a closer look reveals that cross-connections between large root strands do develop. This phenomenon serves as a metaphor for the largest initiative to date within the Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences to bundle and more closely network research activities. The focus is on the phenomenon of "mathematical learning" in children from preschool to late elementary school age. The networking of our expertise serves to identify interdependent interrelations of mathematical learning with language acquisition and working memory as well as visual perception.

Eine Baumwurzel mit vielen verzweigten Ästen. © Ute Ritterfeld​/​TU Dortmund

Current research projects mainly refer to cross-sectional and longitudinal primary and secondary analyses (e.g., of NEPS panel data), but also to the conceptual distinction practice (Delphi study) as well as literature analyses (systematic reviews and meta-analyses) with the long-term goal of contributing to theory development. In addition, questions of diagnostics and support of children with mathematics disabilities as well as special subgroups (e.g., children with language development disorders or reading impairments) play a significant role.

In the context of RooT, dissertations are supervised and students can participate with theses (Bachelor or Master). The research group maintains close national and international research collaborations.

Currently, the following disciplines are involved in RooT:

  • Learning impairments
  • Development and research of inclusive educational processes
  • Methods of empirical educational research
  • Psychological diagnostics
  • Vision, visual impairment & blindness
  • Language & Communication
  • Instructional development research

Contact: Prof. Dr. Ute Ritterfeld

Individual projects of RooT

A DAAD post-doctoral fellowship of Dr. Nurit Viesel-Nordmeyer is currently enabling a cooperation between the EEIB department and the Cognitive Neuroscientific Research Center in Lyon (CRNL; Professor Jérôme Prado) in France. Through this cooperation, the results already obtained within the department on the relationship between linguisticThe cooperation will enable us to extend the results already obtained in the field on the relationship between linguistic abilities and mathematical learning by means of an interdisciplinary view. A strengthening of the understanding of the development of learning disorders in the two domains of language and mathematics can be expected from the ongoing collaborative research. This will benefit both research and teaching at the department.

Contact: Dr. Nurit Viesel-Nordmeyer, TU Dortmund University

Numerous studies show that the acquisition of mathematical competencies is closely linked to children's language development. Recent studies suggest that grammar development in particular plays a special role, as it has been shown that grammar competencies acquired at an early age have both immediate and longer-term effects on children's mathematical competencies. The aim of the project, which started in April 2021, is to assess the state of research on the relationship between grammatical competencies and mathematical learning in children up to the end of 4th grade by means of a systematic review and a subsequent meta-analysis. An external cooperation exists with a working group at the Cognitive Neuroscientific Research Center in Lyon (CRNL), where under the leadership of Dr. Nurit Viesel-Nordmeyer and Dr. Tomoya Nakai a parallel analysis with neuroscientific studies takes place.

Contact: Dr. Eva Wimmer, TU Dortmund University; Dr. Alexander Röhm, TU Dortmund University.