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Title: An investigation of communication and peer interaction in children identified with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in primary school
Author: Charlton, Jenna Jane Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 513X
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2016
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Background: Concerns are often expressed about the numbers of children in primary schools who are described as having behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). BESD place children at increased risk for poor social relations, educational under-achievement and are of considerable concern to parents and teachers alike. Furthermore children with BESD often experience associated language and communication difficulties; these can accentuate difficulties forming social relations and engaging in the classroom and can adversely affect response to intervention and management. However, the nature of the relationship between behaviour and language/communication and how they interact has not been well described, especially in non-clinical populations. Method: Three linked enquiries: 1. An examination of the language communication skills of BESD children based on standardised report assessment. 2. Direct observation of children interacting in a structured context. 3. A descriptive case series of peer dyad interaction. Participants: 40 children aged 4-9 years; 20 with BESD, 20 with typical development (TD). Results: The children in the BESD group had significantly greater pragmatic and structural language difficulties relative to TD peers although there was considerable within-group variability. Associations were found between the severity of behaviour and language/ communication difficulties and between social behaviour and pragmatic language characteristics. Direct observation indicated behaviour and language may be used together in interaction to provide mutual operational reinforcement for communication. The descriptive case series suggests that dyads vary considerably in the interaction strategies that they employ and the effectiveness and coherence of their communication overall. Conclusions: Results support the existence of associations between behavioural and language/communication difficulties in children in a non-clinical sample, but coherence within child dyads shows variability. Interaction is likely to be influenced by peer partnering and the use of scaffolding strategies. The findings have implications for the promotion of social interactions and cooperative learning in the classroom.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available