De la Cruz, R. E. (1995) The effects of creative drama on the social and oral language skills of children with learning disabilities. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation. Illinois State University, Bloomington, IL


The study investigated whether students with disabilities involved in a creative drama program improved social skills, oral expressiveness, and receptive language skills compared to a group of students who were not involved in the program. Results showed that students in the creative drama program significantly improved social skills and oral expressiveness, but did not significantly improve their oral receptive language skills.

Key Findings:

Students in the creative drama program showed improvements in their social skills and oral expressiveness, but not in their oral receptive language skills, compared to students who did not receive the program. Interviews showed that students enjoyed participating in the creative drama program.

Significance of the Findings:

The study shows that students with disabilities can benefit from creative drama, particularly through improved social skills and oral expressiveness. Educators and others working with students with disabilities may wish to incorporate creative drama as a means to help students develop these capacities.


A speech and language pathologist provided 12 sessions of creative drama to 21 students with disabilities. An additional 14 students with disabilities who did not receive the program served as the control group. Students were pre- and post-tested using the following assessments: (1) Walker-McConell Scale of Social Competence, to assess social skills; (2) Test of Language Development-2, to assess speaking and listening; and (3) a self-development scale developed by the researcher, to assess social and language skills. Using analyses of variance (ANOVAs), the researcher compared gains in social skills, oral expressiveness, language skills, and oral receptiveness made by students who received the creative drama program and those who did not. The researcher also interviewed students in the treatment group to understand their perspectives about their experience in the program.

Limitations of the Research:

The groups had small and unequal samples, which limits the generalizability of findings. Additionally, students were not randomly assigned to the different groups and it is unknown if differences existed between the groups prior to the study.

Questions to Guide New Research:

Would similar results be observed if the students were randomly assigned and the groups had equal sample sizes? Would the program have more positive results if the program was longer? Is the program more effective for students with certain disabilities than others?