The behaviour of young children with social communication disorders during dyadic interaction with peers

Murphy, Suzanne M.; Faulkner, Dorothy and Farley, Laura R. (2013). The behaviour of young children with social communication disorders during dyadic interaction with peers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Online First).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-013-9772-6

URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10802-...

Abstract

Children with social communication disorders are known to experience more problematic peer relations than typically-developing children. However, detailed observation of their behaviour and communication during interaction with peers has not previously been undertaken. Micro-analytic observational methods were used to analyse the audio-taped interaction of children (N=112) selected from mainstream schools (ages 5–6 years-old) on a computerised dyadic collaborative task. Comparisons were made between children with average-to-high- and low-pragmatic language skill as measured by the Test of Pragmatic Skills. Dyads were composed of an average-to-high-skilled child plus a low-skilled child (32 dyads), or of two average-to-high-skilled children (24 dyads). Consistently with their pragmatic language scores, low-skilled children were more likely to ignore other children’s questions and requests than were average-to-high-skilled children. When average-to-high-skilled children worked with low-skilled children, as opposed to with other average-to-high-skilled children, they showed some sensitivity and adaptation to these children’s difficulties; they used significantly more directives, clarification and provided more information. However, there was a cost in terms of the emotional tone of these interactions; when working with low-skilled children, the average-to-high-skilled children expressed considerably more negative feelings towards their partners than with another average-to-high-skilled child. In conclusion, observation of the interaction of average-to-high- and low-skilled children suggests promise for peer-assisted interventions and specifies which communicative behaviours could be targeted. However, care should be taken to manage the affective climate of these interactions for the benefit of all children involved.

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About

  • Item ORO ID
  • 37845
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1573-2835
  • Keywords
  • peer relations; pragmatic language; perspective-taking; social communication disorders; micro-analysis; collaborative task; collaboration; social interaction
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
  • Depositing User
  • Dorothy Faulkner

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