Can family involvement improve school adjustment in adolescents with DLD?

Valera-Pozo, M., Adrover-Roig, D., Pérez-Castelló, J. A., Sanchez-Azanza, V. A., & Aguilar-Mediavilla, E. (2020). Behavioral, Emotional and School Adjustment in Adolescents with and without Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Is Related to Family Involvement. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(6), 1949.

Aim of the paper:

Although young people with DLD are more likely to show adjustment difficulties, not all of them experience the same level and duration of adjustment difficulties. Previous research suggested that this may be influenced by family factors, such as parental education. In this paper, the authors look at how family involvement and socioeconomic status (SES) may influence behavioural and emotional difficulties, school adjustment as well as adaptive skills in adolescents with and without DLD.

Family involvement = behaviours, concerns and participation at school and home that help children in their education.

Socioeconomic status = a person’s relative ranking in the society according to their education, income and occupation.

Adaptive skills = everyday skills that people need to live well, such as taking care of themselves and interacting with other.

What they found:

  • Teachers reported that adolescents with DLD showed poorer school adjustment and adaptive skills compared to adolescents without DLD.

  • Adolescents with DLD reported more emotional problems than adolescents without DLD

  • Higher family involvement was related to lower behavioural and emotional problems and better school adjustments in both groups. SES was not related to adjustment outcomes.

What does this mean?

This paper found that adolescents with DLD are more likely to face adjustment difficulties when compared to their peers without DLD. Interestingly, school adjustment difficulties and poor adaptive skills were only noticed by the adolescents’ teacher, while emotional problems were only noticed by adolescents themselves. This shows that it is important to involve different people when trying to understand the struggles of adolescents with DLD.

The author suggested that family involvement can help protect adolescents, with and without DLD, from adjustment difficulties as well as emotional problem. Parents are encouraged to be more involved in helping with their child in their education for more positive adjustment outcomes. This might help close the gap in adjustment difficulties between adolescents with and without DLD.

Where can I read this paper?

This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it.

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