Enhancing the completeness and accuracy of the narrative accounts of children with learning disabilities as a tool to increase witness credibility



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


Often in cases where there has been suspected child abuse or neglect, the child victim is the only source of information and evidence. However, children have long been perceived as less credible, even incompetent, witnesses due to poor narrative skills.

A child who can fiilly elaborate about a topic and organize the event into a narrative form that adults can understand will be perceived as more believable and credible. For children with learning disabilities, narratives in communication can be a major obstacle. It has been estimated that almost 90% of those children who have been labeled learning disabled have some sort of mild to moderate language deficit. This deficit can create problems when it comes to effectively communicating during testimony. The literature suggests these children need guidance procedures such as Narrative Elaboration Training (NET) to help them build the narrative skills necessary to testify in court and be perceived as more credible by adult jurors.