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Michelle David
(Photo by Heather Reed) Michelle David displays her findings on learning disabilities and emotional intelligence.

Beacon College student Michelle David presented research exploring the correlation between learning disabilities and emotional intelligence April 15 at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Conference in Denver, Co.

“The students at Beacon College inspired me to pursue this research, and also, the school was looking into emotional intelligence and I thought this research would help,” David says.

David, a senior psychology major with designs on a career in industrial and organizational psychology, was among the record-setting number of submissions — including 440 papers, posters and presentations — the regional conference fielded this year.

Students can submit research with no guarantees to five regional psychological conferences.

For students whose work is accepted “These types of regional conferences are great opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research,” said Dr. Andrea “A.J.” Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla. Beacon is the first higher education institution accredited to award bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences.

David completed her American Psychological Association-style research report in Marsden’s spring 2015 research design class. David devised and conducted surveys to collect basic demographic information and to measure respondents’ emotional intelligence.

She suspected a significant correlation exists between learning disabilities and emotional intelligence. She also hypothesized differing results for ADD or ADHD subjects who were medicated versus those who weren’t regarding the relationship between LD and EI.

David’s sample included 56 Beacon students — 37 students diagnosed with ADHD and 19 diagnosed with dyslexia.

After crunching her survey data, David discovered students with dyslexia posted significantly higher EI scores than did students with ADHD.

Moreover, David says she’s “also on the verge of finding a significant difference [between] individuals with ADHD who are medicated and non-medicated — basically proving that medicine does help.”

Marsden says her findings again confirm, “Students with LDs are just as capable of conducting a sound scientific research study as students without LDs.”

David intends to continue her research in this vein, testing other theories against the data she has now and plans to collect, and eventually publishing her findings.

“I was extremely honored to be able to present my finding,” David says. “I did this research to help the individuals at Beacon College and all those who have learning disabilities. This research hits home with me and I am overwhelmed with joy that people are interested in my research.”

Michelle David at Conference
(Photo by Dr. A.J. Marsden) Michelle David discussing her findings at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association