Linguistic and metacognitive aspects of normally achieving and learning disabled children's communication process

Janet L. Olsen, Bernice Y.L. Wong, Ronald W. Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper reports on two experiments which examined the linguistic and metacognitive aspects of the communication process in normally achieving and learning disabled children. In the first experiment, 15 normally achieving and 30 learning disabled children were individually taught a board game. Results showed that in communicating with a partner, learning disabled children were less aware of sociolinguistic strategy and used fewer planfulness strategies than their normally achieving peers. Moreover, they used substantially fewer tag questions, adverbs, and prepositional phrases. These results confirmed previous research findings on learning disabled children's communication problems. In the second experiment, 15 of the learning disabled children were trained to use sociolinguistic strategies of planfulness for one half hour a day for three days. The remaining 15 LD subjects engaged in an irrelevant task. Posttests followed training. To test for maintenance and generalization of learned skills, the trained group was asked to teach the board game and another game to a peer and a first grader four days after the posttest. Results indicated that training increased learning disabled children's sociolinguistic awareness and their use of sociolinguistic strategies of planfulness. Interestingly, the trained group's language increased in complexity after training. While use of pragmatic strategies was maintained, generalization of the trained skills and of the changes in linguistic complexity was not observed. Results suggest the need to continue research on learning disabled children's language problems and the importance of incorporating self-regulatory strategies in training programs designed to improve learning disabled children's communication skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-304
Number of pages16
JournalLearning Disability Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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