This study was designed to determine whether learning-disabled (LD) children differed from nondisabled (NLD) children in their ability to comprehend nonverbal communication when potential attentional differences between the groups were controlled. In addition, the relationship between nonverbal comprehension and social competence was assessed. Thirty LD and 30 NLD boys between 9 and 12 years of age were administered a short form of the Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity (PONS) to assess nonverbal comprehension; social competence measures included teachers' ratings of aggressive and withdrawn behaviors using the Behavior Problem Checklist, and "blind" judges' ratings of performance on a role-play of friendshipmaking skills. Under attention-incentive conditions, no performance differences between LD and NLD children were found on the PONS; however, LD children were judged to be more withdrawn and less socially skilled. While PONS scores were not related to other social competence measures, hey were associated with academic achievement and IQ. Results emphasize the importance of considering the presence of attentional problems in LD children that may interfere with an accurate assessment of their skills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health