Children with learning disabilities (LD) have been found to experience more difficulties with peer relationships than nondisabled children. Consequently, investigators have examined the social behavior and social comprehension skills of LD children, in an effort to understand their lower peer status and to design appropriate intervention strategies. The present paper reviews existing literature in these areas. Studies suggest that, although they appear to interact with peers as frequently as nondisabled children, LD children (a) are more likely to be involved in negative peer interactions and (b) tend to display less frequent and/or more inapropriate positive social behaviors. Social comprehension skills were not found to be typically problematic for LD children. However, a number of methodological problems complicate the interpretation of existing research, including variability in subject samples studied, absence of a uniform definition of learning disabilities, differences in behavioral coding methodologies, and the confounding of peer status and academic status. Based on empirical findings, several suggestions are offered for future research and for tailoring existing social skills programs to the needs of LD children who are experiencing problematic peer interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology