Jensen de López, K. M. J., Feilberg, J., Baena, S., Lyons, R., Harding, S., Kelić, M., ... & Rodriguez-Ortiz, I. R. (2021). “So, I told him to look for friends!” Barriers and protecting factors that may facilitate inclusion for children with Language Disorder in everyday social settings: Cross-cultural qualitative interviews with parents. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 115, 103963.
Aim of the paper:
Children with Language Disorder (LD) often struggle with social interactions and can be excluded from their peers due to their difficulties in understanding and producing language. While parents play an important role in encouraging and supporting their children’s social relationships, limited research has explored the everyday social difficulties of children with LD from the parent’s perspective across different countries. This paper used qualitative interviews to explore how parents of children with LD view the inclusion and/or exclusion of their child in social settings and how they get involved to help the child become included. The parental experiences across countries were compared to identify similarities.
What was found:
- Parents reported that their child’s LD led to social exclusion and it affected both the quantity and quality of their child’s social interactions.
- Parents felt the need to provide opportunities for their child to be socially included, making sure that they were not misunderstood or overlooked by others.
- Formation of good interpersonal relationships with peers was seen as important by the parents
- Parents were often proactive in helping their child become socially included, such as letting others (e.g., peers and teachers) know about their child’s disability to promote understanding of their child’s behaviour.
What does this mean?
The findings indicate that across countries, parents were aware that LD may cause their child to be socially excluded and that their role was important in supporting their child’s social relationships. Since the participants of the study were limited to a small group of educated parents, the researchers suggested that the study should be expanded to explore the opinions of parents from different socioeconomic groups. Based on the findings, promoting peer group socialisation within the setting of language therapy can potentially be useful for children with LD and their parents.
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