Richard L. Sparks, EdD, is Professor of Education at the College of Mount St. Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio.
College Students Classified as Having Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the Foreign Language Requirement
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 2003 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 36, Issue 3, pages 325–338, October 2003
How to Cite
Sparks, R. L., Philips, L. and Javorsky, J. (2003), College Students Classified as Having Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the Foreign Language Requirement. Foreign Language Annals, 36: 325–338. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2003.tb02117.x
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
Abstract: Some students classified as learning disabled (LD) have exhibited problems with learning a foreign language (FL). College students classified as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often assumed by educators and service providers to have problems that impair FL learning. To date, no empirical studies have investigated this assumption. In the two studies reported here, college students classified as LD or as both LD and having ADHD (LD/ADHD) who had either substituted courses for the FL requirement (petition) or had fulfilled the requirement by passing FL courses (nonpetition) were compared in terms of demographic, cognitive, and academic achievement profiles, and FL grades. In the first study, few differences were found in demographic, cognitive, and achievement profiles between petition students classified as LD or LD/ADHD. In the second study, no significant differences in demographic profiles were found among groups classified as petition LD, petition LD/ADHD, nonpetition LD, and nonpetition LD/ADHD. On cognitive and academic achievement measures, the nonpetition LD/ADHD group scored significantly higher than the petition LD group on measures of IQ, reading, math, and scholastic achievement (ACT). The results of both studies appear to be counterintuitive because students with two disabilities (LD and ADHD) were found to exhibit cognitive ability, academic achievement, and FL grades greater than or equal to students with LD alone. Findings suggest that students classified as both LD and ADHD may not necessarily experience serious problems with FL learning.