Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D

Second Advisor

Katy Tresco, PhD

Third Advisor

Lisa Perkins, PhD


This study explores cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a supplemental treatment with a sample of adolescents with learning disabilities (LD). Research overwhelming reflects the theory that children and adolescents with LD are more likely to manifest anxious and depressive symptomology. CBT is an evidence based intervention for anxiety and depression. However, there is a gap in the knowledge of treating LD with CBT. The study hypothesizes the theory that maladaptive metacognitive interpretation of the LD diminishes the effects of the evidence based academic intervention. The study sought to explore whether or not adolescents with LD would experience enhanced academic and emotional skills when treated with CBT, supplemental to an evidenced based reading intervention (READ 180). The researcher created a manualized nine week treatment named LD CBT, conceptualized to provide classic CBT techniques individualized for the LD population within the school setting. Twelve students met criteria for the study and were randomly selected into two groups; experimental (n = 6) and wait list control (n = 5). The sample size limits generalization; however, results do suggest that participants treated with LD CBT and READ 180 experienced enhanced words per minute, reading comprehension and self-concept rates compared with control wait list group treated with READ 180 only. Results did not support the idea that participants treated with LD CBT experienced enhanced reading accuracy, resiliency or vulnerability. Maintenance measures suggest that the experimental group maintained gains in self-concept 12 weeks post LD CBT treatment. One participant made gains in all researched areas. Despite the limitations, the results are intriguing and worthy of future study.

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Psychology Commons