Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Wayne Adams, Ph.D., ABPP

Second Advisor

Susan O'Donnell, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Margi Macy, Ph.D.


National Institute for Learning Disabilities (NILD) Educational Therapy™ (NILD therapy) was developed in the 1960s and was first used in private schools in 1973. Since then, the use of NILD therapy has spread to more than 900 programs both in the U.S. and abroad. Despite the widespread use of NILD therapy, little research has been done to support the program. The seven studies investigating NILD therapy, all unpublished, have been lacking in empirical rigor and are subject to charges of potential bias because all were conducted by researchers with connections with NILD. The current study was designed to investigate the efficacy of NILD therapy in an empirically viable manner and without affiliation with the NILD organization. For this study, archival records from 135 children who have been enrolled in NILD therapy were obtained from private schools in Portland, Oregon, Kandem, Germany, and Manila, Philippines. Records from 25 students from the Portland, Oregon and Germany schools who were found eligible for NILD therapy but did not enroll were also obtained. Initial and retest IQ and achievement scores of the NILD group were analyzed. Significant improvement was found on achievement subtest standard scores as well as Full Scale IQ. However, a comparison of NILD and non-NILD students on initial and retest group achievement scores was found non-significant. Thus, this study provides equivocal support for NILD therapy and highlights the need for further controlled research in this area.

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