Raskind, Marshall H.; Margalit, Malka; Higgins, Eleanor L.
October 2006
Learning Disability Quarterly;Fall2006, Vol. 29 Issue 4, p253
Academic Journal
This study examined children's presentations of the "LD experience" as expressed in online messages on a public website designed for children with learning and attention problems. Earlier research has demonstrated that children view the Internet as a social medium that enables communication and promotes personal relationships. In the current study, we assumed that students with LD would treat this specially designed website as a "safe environment," enabling them to present their self-identities as children with LD and to share the personal meaning of their challenges. By studying their online messages, we sought to develop a deeper understanding of the children's thoughts, feelings and attitudes, as well as the ways they present themselves online. Theme analysis was performed on 4,903 e-mails sent from 164 self-identified LD participants ages 9-18. Six major themes emerged: (a) LD identity presentation; (h) disclosure of academic difficulties; (c-d) disclosure of emotional problems and social distress; (e) requests for help; and (f) description of positive aspects of LD. Results demonstrated the potential the study of online messaging has for understanding the LD experience. Implications for practice, considerations regarding future studies, and study limitations are discussed.


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