Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Second Advisor

Robert Moon

Third Advisor

Gerald Herdman



Greater discriminative power to clarify the diagnostic category of learning disabilities is needed. Research identifies many types of learning disabled populations. Studies do not indicate that the six variables used in this project had been combined and used in a project prior to this. Using measures such as Sentence Repeat, Synonyms, Digits Forward/Backwards, Design Copy, Nonsense Words, and Visual Pattern Matching, this project studied the responses of an LD sample to these subtests and their ability to discriminate among a verbally impaired sample, a spatially impaired sample, and a control group.


Six subtests were developed, which, according to the literature, measured auditory discrimination and memory (Sentence Repeat); auditory and verbal comprehension and general verbal background (Synonyms); immediate auditory memory, attention, concentration, double tracking, and reversal of mental operations (Digits Forward/Backwards); visual perceptual-motor functioning (Design Copy); lexical processing (Nonsense Words); and visual memory and visual-perceptual learning (Visual Pattern Matching). The basic null hypothesis was that there is no linear combination of six variables which significantly discriminates among the three groups. The instrument was subjected to a pilot study before the final data collection took place. The data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance, multivariate analysis of variance, and discriminant function analysis.


Two subtests dominated in their ability to discriminate among the groups--Synonyms and Digits Forward/Backwards. Both the verbal and spatial groups were found to have shared deficits, but differed significantly from the control group on most of the measures. The null hypothesis was rejected.


The 9-12-year-old males in this sample with learning disabilities expressed deficits only in verbally related areas--specifically auditory/verbal comprehension and short-term auditory memory, attention, and concentration. Based on the literature and data gathering experience, it was also revealed that students should not be placed in LD programs based on one test, and a home visit should take place.

Subject Area

Learning disabilities; Learning disabled children


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