Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Janet A. Norris


Few studies have examined the narrative abilities of gifted children with learning disabilities. This study investigated the ability of eighth-grade gifted children with learning disabilities (gifted/LD) to produce oral and written narratives by comparing their stories to those produced by gifted peers with no learning deficits (nonLD/gifted). It was hypothesized that evidence of difficulty generating the stories relative to the macrostructure (organization of ideas across sentences) and the microstructure (organization of ideas within sentences) would be exhibited by the gifted/LD population. Twenty, 13-year-old eighth-graders served as subjects in the present investigation. All were identified as gifted by their local school system and were enrolled in the gifted program at the time of their participation in the study. Ten of the subjects met criteria for the gifted/LD group and ten met criteria for the nonLD/gifted group. Each subject produced stories under four different conditions, including a spontaneously generated oral story, a spontaneously generated written story, a retold oral story, and a retold written story. The stories produced by the gifted/LD subjects were compared to their gifted peers for differences in thirteen dependent measures of story length, episodic integrity, story grammar components, and sentence complexity. Differences in the mean number of occurrences of each of the thirteen variables under both oral and written story generation conditions were found. The results of MANOVAs applied to each condition revealed that only the overall spontaneously generated oral stories told by the gifted/LD subjects reliably differed from those produced by the nonLD/gifted subjects at the p $<$.05 level of significance. Results of the univariate analyses indicated that these differences were not accounted for by any one element of story macrostructure or microstructure but rather that the stories differed across multiple dimensions, each of which contributed to the overall difference. The significant results of this study suggest that the language of gifted/LD children does differ from that of nonLD/gifted peers when narrative language is examined. Results are discussed relative to the limitations of the study and implications for future research.