Event description by two subtypes of learning disabled children
Watkins, Michael J.
Master of Arts
Event description by two subtypes of nine to thirteen year old learning disabled children (math and generally disabled) was examined. Children viewed a narrative or a puppet show, then were asked to either describe of enact what had happened. Generally disabled children enacted the events as accurately as nondisabled children, indicating that generally disabled children understood and remembered events as well as nondisabled children. However, their descriptions contained omissions, circumlocutions, and word substitutions, reflecting a subtle verbal deficit. Math disabled children were less accurate than nondisabled children describing a puppet show, but not in the other conditions, suggesting they have difficulty understanding the emotions and motives of the characters. Math disabled children were proficient in using language. Thus, the two learning disabled subtypes performed differently in event description, validating the subtyping criteria used in this experiment, as well as the concept of heterogeneity among the learning disabled population.