Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Chriss Walther-Thomas


Much can be gained by applying knowledge and insight gleaned from the field of neuropsychology to the field of education. Diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities (LD) could be enhanced through an increased understanding of neurolinguistic functioning. The present study examined the effect of five instructional techniques aimed at stimulating the cognitive functioning of students with diagnosed learning disabilities. The defining characteristic of each of the five techniques is the use of interactive dialogue to stimulate oral language production leading to greater cognitive efficiency. Evidence is presented for the need for interhemispheric collaboration in complex linguistic tasks such as reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. Students with learning disabilities could be viewed as having a breakdown in dynamic functioning impacting neurological systems.;The intervention model developed by the National Institute for Learning Disabilities (NILD) assessed in the present study is based upon the theoretical foundations of Feuerstein (1980), Luria (1981), Piaget (1959), and Vygotsky (1962/1975). The interrelatedness of thought and language, the creation of the zone of proximal development, the recognition of the plasticity of intelligence and the belief in the importance of a human mediator in the learning process, each contributes to the design of techniques used in the NILD program.;The statistical analysis showed significant group-by-time interaction effects in the areas of general and verbal cognitive functioning for the experimental group (n = 47), as assessed by the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude - Second Edition (DTLA-2) when compared to the control group (n = 25). Significant gains over time were evidenced by the experimental group in reading, spelling, and arithmetic scores as measured by the Wide Range Achievement Test - Revised (WRAT-R), and in nonverbal cognitive functioning as measured by the DTLA-2.;Overall results indicated that students with diagnosed learning disabilities benefited from an intensive individualized program over a three-year period in a modified pull-out approach involving 160 minutes of instruction per week. Specifically, the interactive effects of five core instructional techniques appeared to significantly impact neurolinguistic functioning for the experimental group.



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