Perc&ftfd and Molor Skills, 1978,46, 1080-1082
@ Perceptual and Motor Skills 1978
A MUSICAL PROFILE FOR A SAMPLE OF LEARNING-DISABLED CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: A PILOT STUDY1 ANTHONY A. DECUIR AND CHARLES E. BRASWELL College o f Music, Loyola University Surnmry.-31 learning-disabled children and adolescents completed the Pitch, Loudness, Rhythm, Time, and Tonal Memory subtests of the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents. Results indicated that the Seashore test did not discriminate between subgroups of these learning-disabled children. However, differences were found in percentile equivalents .bemeen these learning-disabled and normal individuals. These data should be interpreted with caution due to the small size of this sample and the spread of percentiles presented by Seashore.
Musical activities for learning-disabled children and adolescents have been described by Welsbacher (1972), Scott (1970), de Obaldia and Best (1971), Kallan ( 1972 ) , and Rejto ( 1973 ) . However, controlled studies describing the musical potential and capabilities of learning-disabled children and adolescents are few. This study attempted the formulation of a musical profile for subgroups of learning-disabled individuals (visual, auditory, and mixed symptoms) and for the total sample. N o assumptions were made concerning musicality, musical talent, or musical abilities. The hypotheses were: ( 1) no differences will be observed between subtest scores of three subgroups of learning-disabled children and adolescents, ( 2 ) no differences will be observed between subtest scores of three subgroups of learning-disabled children and adolescents, and normal children and adolescents as measured by subtest norms, and ( 3 ) no differences will be observed between subtest scores of the total sample of learning-disabled children arid adolescents, and normal children and adolescents as measured by subtest norms.
METHOD Subjects Subjects were 31 learning-disabled students attending the Crescent Academy, New Orleans, Louisiana. Twenty-five of the subjects were male, and six were female. The students were of normal or above normal intelligence. The subjects were not emotionally disturbed. Ages, sex, and types of disabilities are displayed in Table 1. 0
Procedwe The Pitch, Loudness, Rhythm, Time, and Tonal Memory subtests of the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents initially were administered to a group of 10 children, ages 6.0 to 7.11 yr. Subjects were unable to complete the first 'The authors wish to express their appreciation to Mrs. Charlotte Grant of the Crescent Academy, New Orleans, and to her staff for their assistance in this project.
MUSICAL PROFILE TABLE 1 AGES, SEX. AND TYPBSOF DISABILITIES TYP~ Visual Learning Disability Auditory Learning Disability Mixed Symptoms (Visual, Auditory, Motor)
CA 10.3 to 15.1 12.3 to 12.11
Sex 10 boys, 3 girls 5 boys
10 boys, 3 girls
subtest due to the speed at which the stimuli were presented on the test record. Subsequently test materials were taped and presented to the children by means of a Roberts Reel to Reel tape recorder, Model 990. The Roberts is equipped with a control which allows the tape to be stopped after presentation of each set of stimuli. A second difficulty was that a number of subjects were unable to fill in the lines on the scoring sheets. The children then were asked to whisper their choice to an instructor or teachers aide who filled in the scoring sheets for them. After the first two subtests were completed, it became apparent that the Seashore test was not appropriate for this group. The Seashore test then was administered to 31 children and adolescents, ages 10.1 to 15.1 yr. Members of this group were capable of completing the subtests as presented on the recordings and were able to fill in the scoring sheets. The Seashore norms for Grades 6 to 8 were used to obtain percentile equivalents for these subjects. RESULTSAND DISCUSSION Table 2 presents means of the Pitch, Loudness, Rhythm, Time, and Tonal Memory scores for the three groups of subjects and for the total sample. Table MEANS FOR
TABLE 2 SUBTESTSCORES BY DISABILITY ( n = 31)
Visual Auditory Mixed Total Sample
28.30 29.00 28.76 28.61
35.69 36.40 32.07 34.29
22.38 24.60 21.84 22.58
31.30 32.00 31.54 31.51
11.92 19.60 13.09 13.68
3 is concerned with percentiles for each of the disability subgroups and the total sample as presented by the norms for Grades 6 to 8. The chi square test for k independent samples (Siegel, 1956) was employed to analyze the data concerning differences between the subgroups. The expected frequency utilized for the subtests was the raw score nearest to the
A. A. DECUIR
C. E BRASWELL
5Ot>ercentile displayed in the norms for Grades G to 8. A x2 = 4.81 indicated that hypothesis one is accepted. It is apparent that the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents did not discriminate between subgroups for this sample of learning-disabled children and adolescents. Perhaps also these data depict the difficulties of those seeking to understand and treac learning disabilities as a disease entity. TABLE 3 PBRCBNnLB EQUIVALENTS OF RAW SCORESBY DISABILITY Disability
Visual Auditory Mixed Total Sample
17 21 21 21
31 31 15 23
28 60 28 38
24 31 31 31
12 47 15 18
However, scores for the Seashore subtests indicate that the percentile rankings for the subgroups and for the sample as a whole are below those observed for a normal population. Therefore hypotheses 2 and 3 tentatively are rejected pending further study. These data should be interpreted with caution due to the very small sample size and the spread of percentiles in comparison with raw scores presented by Seashore. The percentile rankings for the test allow minor differences in raw scores to appear larger in percentiles. It is possible that an increased number of subjects in each category would eliminate this discrepancy, although adolescents diagnosed with pure auditory or visual symptoms are scarce. DE OBALDIA,M., & BEST,G. A. Music therapy in the treatment of brain-damaged children Academic Therapy, 1971,6, 263-269. KALLAN,C A. Rhythm and sequencing in an intersensory approach to learning disability. Journd of Learning Disabilities, 1972, 5 , 12-18. RBJTO,A. Music as an aid in the remediation of learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilitier, 1973,6, 15-24. Scorn, T. J. The use of music to reduce hyperactivity in children. Arnwican Journal of Ofthopsychiatry, 1970,40, 677-680. WBLSBACHER, B. T. More than a package of bizarre behaviors. Muric Educators Jorrrn d . 1972, 58, 26-28.
Accepted April 26, 1978.