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Developmental Disorders and Special Education

Research Institute of Child Development and Education

The research group conducts theoretically based empirical research to examine the underlying processes of cognitive and social emotional skills acquisition in the context of school and how these are affected by instruction and teacher skills.

The main lines of research are:

  • Development of language, literacy and arithmetic with a particular focus on learning disabilities
  • Teacher-student interaction and relationships, in particular for SEN student
Prof. dr. P.F. (Peter) de Jong

Head of Research Group Developmental Disorders and Special Education


Research Projects

  • Developing evidence-based interventions for students at-risk for developing deficits in reading, mathematics, on-task behavior or emotional wellbeing

    Dutch primary schools increasingly adhere to the model of Response to Instruction (RtI). According to this model, students are provided with increasing levels of instruction and support within the school, before being referred to specialized care in health centers. For this project the University of Amsterdam collaborates with primary schools in the area with the aim of developing evidence-based interventions for students at-risk for developing deficits in reading, mathematics, on-task behavior or emotional wellbeing.

    Previous research provided insight into the development of reading, mathematics, on-task behavior, and emotional wellbeing, and also provided clear guidelines for effective treatment in health care settings. In the current project we aim to clarify the effectiveness of interventions within schools. Little is known with respect to the effectiveness of interventions in the Dutch schoolcontext. Findings result in further development of the existing interventions as well as guidelines for further implementation in regular primary education.

    Effectiveness of the interventions is determined by comparing the development of students who participated in the interventions with control groups of students with similar difficulties, who do not (yet) receive specific intervention. In addition, we aim to identify moderators of intervention effectiveness. To this end we study characteristics of the intervention itself (e.g. implementation), of the students (e.g. age), of the intervention providers (e.g. their relationship with the students), and of the level of involvement of teachers and professionals in the schools. 

    Period: 2014 - present

    Funding: University of Amsterdam together with several participating schhols

    Dr. M. (Madelon) van den Boer MSc

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Developmental Disorders and Special Education