The Perceived Impact of Unstable Gaps between Academic Ability and Performance on the Self-Image of Students With Learning Disabilities


  • Amela Einat Tel Hai Academic College



disparity, dissonance, unstable fluctuation, development of self


Disparities among the different abilities of students with learning disabilities have attracted extensive research. The attention has largely focused on how low abilities mask good or high potential intellectual level, and the resulting frustration. Correspondingly, the literature has also concentrated on the methods of detection required to reveal such potential and strategic, therapeutic, and pedagogical strategies for realizing it. However, despite the large volume of research, there has been no examination to date of the emotional impact of the continual fluctuations between success and failure created by such gaps, and its implications for the development of self among these individuals. The purpose of the present research, which was based on a qualitative approach and semi-structured interviews with 22 adult art students with learning disabilities and high intellectual ability, was to examine the perceived relationship between this dissonance and the self-perception. Major findings include extreme fluctuations in the learning experience of the participants play a major role, such fluctuations have significant effects on participants’ emotional and behavioral worlds, and fluctuations in the learning experience of students with learning disabilities and high intellectual ability have critical implications on their overall self-perceptions. The conclusions and implications are discussed extensively.

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Author Biography

Amela Einat, Tel Hai Academic College

Amela Einat (Phd) is a faculty memberand a lecturer at the department of special education, Tel Hai Academic College, Israel