The purpose of this study was to introduce a testing procedure that could be used to determine the optimal response modes of learning disabled children on a standardized diagnostic test such as the Frostig Developmental Test of Visual Perception (FDTVP). Learning disabled children with below average scores on the FDTVP were presented items previously missed on this test using one of three different methods of task presentation, i.e., covert, vocal, and visual-manual response-eliciting strategies. At the end of the instruction phase, a posttest was administered. Analysis of pretest and posttest scores indicated that for each learning disabled child there was a single method of task presentation that was most effective in eliminating errors. This outcome was operationally defined as the learning disabled child's optimal response mode. Each child was then shown an eight-item paired-associate task using a method of task presentation that was either similar to or different from the testing condition that generated the optimal response mode. It was found that the learning disabled children in the matched condition recalled significantly more paired-associate items than those in the unmatched condition, which suggests that the method of task presentation may determine the expression of the learning disability deficit on an academic task. The importance of these results in clarifying the behavioral basis of the learning disability deficit is discussed within the context of the diagnosis and remediation of educational handicaps.
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