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Title: Interaction between non-handicapped six and seven year olds and peers with severe learning difficulties
Author: Lewis, Ann Laura
ISNI:       0000 0001 3608 817X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1988
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This thesis comprises three inter-related studies that have in common a focus on the nature of the behaviours of non-handicapped (NH) six and seven year olds in interactions with peers with severe learning difficulties (SLD). Research into children’s cross-age dyadic interactions is discussed and NH-SLD interaction is examined as a particular type of cross-(developmental) age Interaction. This work provides the background to Study 1 in which each of ten NH children was paired with a child with SLD during fortnightly integration sessions over one school year. NH-SLD interaction increased over the first two terms and decreased slightly after this, a pattern which can be explained in terms of features which promote or diminish child-child interaction. Study 2 focussed on changes in young NH children’s attitudes towards children with SLD over a year of fortnightly NH-SLD Integration sessions. These attitudes are considered in relation to work examining the development of attitudes towards other social groups. In particular, Katz' (19S2) model of the development of racial attitudes is applied to attitudes towards children with SLD. Year-end interviews indicated that knowledge about SLD encompassed four different physical explanations of SLD: sensory-motor difficulties, sickness, young age or "bad brains". Although the NH children became more realistic about probable futures of children with SLD, the NH children remained, in general, confused about the nature of SLD. It is concluded that Katz' (19B2) model provides a useful base for examining the development of attitudes towards children with SLD. Concepts held about the listener will Influence the nature of speech addressed to that listener and verbal NH-SLD interaction was the focus of the third study reported here. This study is set in the context of research on how young children address younger children, including tutees. Study 3 involved nine NH-SLD pairs of children whose verbal interactions were monitored over a school year of structured integration sessions. Study 3 found that, as in Study 1, NH children dominated NH-SLD interaction. This was evident in NH children's frequent use of requests and closed questions as well as in features such as speaking for SLD children. These characteristics were more frequent in the NH children's talk to SLD partners than in the NH children's talk to younger mainstream children. The issue of NH children's sensitivity, linguistically, to SLD partners is explored. It is suggested that while the types of reformulation of utterances by NH children to SLD partners were appropriate for SLD listeners, NH children often failed to recognise the need to reformulate utterances. This leads back to questions about young NH children's understanding of the nature of SLD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman