Children with learning disabilities: Interpersonal skills and social competence

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The present paper summarizes research on the peer relationship problems of children with learning disabilities, highlights some of the methodological shortcomings of this work, and draws implications for social interventions with these children. Learning-disabled (LD) children, especially girls, may be at greater risk for peer problems than their nondisabled classmates. However, not all children with learning disabilities experience peer difficulties; some are well liked. Sehaviorally, LD children frequently have been observed to be off-task in the classroom and to receive more negative teacher attention. In social settings, LD children interact with peers as frequently as nondisabled children, and display positive prosocial behaviors at a comparable rate, yet are involved in more negative interactions with peers, and are ignored more by peers and teachers. Moreover, LD children have been found to be less assertive conversational partners, and to be perceived as less socially skilled. Thus, LD children display several interpersonal difficulties that may contribute to their low peer status and represent areas for social intervention. Social cognitive skills also have been implicated in the social difficulties of LD children, although methodological shortcomings limit the conclusions that can be drawn from this research. Additional suggestions for social interventions include: involving teachers, parents, and peers in the intervention process; programming treatment generalization more directly; tailoring interventions to LD subgroups; and incorporating intervention strategies for controlling aggressive/intrusive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-185
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Reading, Writing, and Learning Disabilities International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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