Social and emotional skills in children with DLD and reading difficulties

Sureda-Garcia, I., Valera-Pozo, M., Sanchez-Azanza, V., Adrover-Roig, D., & Aguilar-Mediavilla, E. (2021). Associations Between Self, Peer, and Teacher Reports of Victimization and Social Skills in School in Children With Language Disorders. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.718110

Aim of the paper:


This paper looks at the experience of bullying and peer relationships in primary school students with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and reading difficulties (RD) using teacher, peer, and self-reports on victimization. Children with DLD and RD are more likely to suffer bullying or victimization since they have poorer friendships, lower peer acceptance and deficits in social skills. As a result, these peer difficulties may lead to physical and mental health issues such as lack of socio-emotional skills, stress, and anxiety. This study is part of a larger longitudinal study with 144 participants recruited from primary schools in Spain.


What was found:


Children with DLD and RD differ from their typically developing peers in social and emotional skills when these are reported by others (i.e. teachers and peers), but not when reporting their skills themselves. More specifically researchers found:

  • Teachers and peers agreed that students with DLD and RD had lower levels of peer-related prosocial skills

  • Peers assessed students with DLD as experiencing higher levels of victimization

  • Teachers assessed students with DLD to have poor social skills, less adaptability, and more social interaction withdrawal


What does this mean?


In sum, results show less prosocial behaviours in both groups (those with RD and DLD), but fewer social skills, less social adaptability, more withdrawal behaviour, and more victimization only in students with DLD. Students with DLD may wrongly understand and interpret the social situation, thus showing lower levels of prosocial skills. Their limited social understanding may also explain why they didn’t perceive themselves to experience any social skill deficits. In combination with poor language skills, students with DLD have higher risk of being victimized. This is because bullies could perceive them as less socially integrated. Attention should be given to the social and emotional aspects of children with DLD and RD in order to provide the skills they need to cope with bullying and victimization.


Where can I read this paper?


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

Please click here to find the full paper.