Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department



The purpose of this research was to ascertain whether the elimination of food coloring and flavoring and natural occuring salicylates from the diet of learning disabled children would enhance their attention span and decrease their hyperactive behavior. The dietary concept involved in this theory was developed through the knowledge and reasearch of Dr. Ben F. Feingold, Professor Emeritus, Department of Allergy, Kaiser-Permanete Medical Center. It is called the K-P Diet. Assessment tools to evaluate attention span and hyperactvity levels were developed by W. Owens Corder, Ed.D., an authority in the education of learning disabled children. A panel of three experts from the College of Education observed and assessed the attention span and hyperactivity levels of these learning disabled children. The panel evaluated the children before any of them went on the K-P Diet and again in the fifth week of diet. Thirteen learning disabled children in a local elementary school volunteered to participate in the study and completed five weeks of dietary restriction. Fourteen other learning disabled children from the same elementary school served as a control for the study. The null hypothesis that there will be no difference in the behavior (attention span and hyperactivity) of learing disabled children between the ages of 6 years and 11 years of age on the K-P Diet and learning disabled children between the ages of 6 years and 11 years of age who remain on their regular diet was tested by a one-tailed upper "t" test. The attention span mean score change was not statistically significant; the hyperactivity mean score change was statistically signficant at the 5 percent level; and the total mean score of both factors was statistically significant at the 10 percent level. An F test was used to compare the variances. The variances for hyperactivity level and total mean score were significantly higher for the control group when compared to the diet group, except for the initial scores. Within the control group itself the variances for the final scores of hyperactivity levels and total mean score were significantly higher than the inital scores. It would be irresponsible to draw too many conclusions from this study of small sample size. However, it does indicate a need for further research. The results of this study strongly suggest that the K-P Diet is able to reduce hyperactivity of some children diagnosed as learning disabled.