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January 2022

The peer relations of preschool children with communication disorders

Author(s): Connor, R. T., Hammond, M. A., Gottman, J. M., Kinnish, K.

Journal/Book: Child Develop. 1996; 67: 5720 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. Univ Chicago Press. 471-489.

Abstract: The peer-related social interactions of preschool-age children with communication disorders were compared to those of normally developing chronological age-mates. All children were previously unacquainted with one another and participated in a series of short-term play groups. Differences between the 2 groups emerged primarily in terms of overall social activity, as children with communication disorders engaged in fewer positive social interactions and conversed with peers less often during non-play activities. Children with communication disorders also were less successful in their social bids and appeared to be less directive with their peers. However, both groups of children exhibited similar patterns of socially competent interactions including the ability to sustain play (group play), to minimize conflict, to join others in ongoing activities, and to respond appropriately to the social bids of others. Based on peer sociometric ratings, both groups of children were equally accepted. These general patterns of similarities and differences were found in settings in which play groups consisted of all children with communication disorders (specialized settings) as well as in settings in which the play groups included both children with communication disorders and normally developing children (mainstreamed settings). However, even during the relatively brief acquaintanceship process, an analysis of peer preference patterns revealed that children with communication disorders in mainstreamed settings were less socially integrated in the play groups than normally developing children. The potential for additional difficulties in peer interactions for children with communication disorders when children become more familiar with one another and play becomes more intricate was discussed in light of interaction patterns formed during the shortterm play groups.

Note: Article MJ Guralnick, Univ Washington, Ctr Human Dev & Disabil, Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195 USA


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