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Research Library

Mindfulness and Speed Testing for Children with Learning Disabilities: Oil and Water?


Metacognitive approaches are important in teaching reading skills, but experts know little about how to develop self-regulation through classroom interventions. This article reports results from a randomized controlled pilot trial in which we investigated whether mindfulness-based training improves literacy scores/attitudes in children with learning disabilities (LD). Mindfulness is a well-established metacognitive strategy for developing attention; it reduces anxiety and cognitive interference and improves positive affect. These benefits might help students with LD come to terms with their disability and improve their reading skills. We randomly assigned 20 elementary students with LD to either an active control or experimental group that received a 5-week intervention incorporating reading instruction and mindfulness. Quantitative results showed that training significantly increased response times during decoding (indicating possible increases in reflectiveness) and lowered heart rate. Qualitative analysis revealed themes pointing to improvements in literacy and affect. We discuss implications for intervention and assessment.