Social Communication And Interaction Amongst Children And Young People With Severe Learning Difficulties

Skinner, Julia (2004). Social Communication And Interaction Amongst Children And Young People With Severe Learning Difficulties. EdD thesis The Open University.



This study explores the social and communicative interactions among children and young people in special schools who have severe learning difficulties. It considers the concept ofphatic communion or 'small talk' and its importance as a social and cultural practice. The study focuses on the actual communication of the children and young people and investigates the functions, patterns and strategies they employ. It considers the development of language and communication from birth onwards, particularly the processes involved in the progress of increasing skills in socially interactive communication. The study reviews literature concerning the development of communication in proto-conversations to the talk of children of typical development and children and adults with learning difficulties. It also investigates the role of non-verbal communication and context and how these can affect and support the social interaction process. The study employed an observational approach to data collection,recording predominantly by field notes, but also utilising some video and audio recording.The data were transcribed and analysed to provide examples of the range and variety of socio-communicative interactions between the children and young people. The findings demonstrate the multiplexity of skill involved in creating and perpetuating the social dynamics of amicable interaction. Finally conclusions are drawn to provide some significance of the impact that this study may offer to professionals working in the special educational sector, particularly with children and young people with severe learning difficulties.

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