Social and Emotional Development in Children with Communication Disabilities
It might be expected that children with communication disabilities would have difficulty developing successful relationships with their peers. These children may have difficulty with any of a number of areas of communication, including articulation, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. These disabilities may affect children’s expressive abilities, which in turn may influence their ability to be understood by their peers as well as their peers’ subsequent willingness to participate in a social interchange.
Guralnick, Connor, Hammond, Gottman, & Kinnish (1996) used play groups of children with communication disabilities and typically developing children to evaluate the social interactions and the social competence of both groups. They evaluated children’s play for the proportion of solitary, parallel, and group play, as well as the amount of time spent unoccupied, as onlookers, and in other activities, such as reading and interacting with an adult. They also observed children’s peer-related behavior in other categories, such as using peers as resources, expressing affection, imitating a peer, joining a peer’s play, and expressing hostility. Finally, each child was rated by the other children as someone they really liked to play with, someone they “kinda” liked to play with, or someone they do not like to play with—a measure of popularity.
Children with communication disorders were similar to their typically developing peers in a number of areas. Neither group of children had much unoccupied time and there were no differences in acceptance in the two groups. However, children with communication disorders engaged in fewer conversations than their typical peers, had lower rates of positive social behavior, and were less successful when they made social overtures to their peers.
Reprinted with the permission of PBS. © PBS 2003 - 2008, all rights reserved.
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