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Title: Exploring friendship experiences in young people with social pragmatic communication difficulties in an English Local Authority EP service context
Author: Elliott, Agnes
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 2165
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Previous research suggests that young people (YP) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) are at risk of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties (Lindsay and Dockrell, 2012). SLCN covers a range of different language and communication needs including difficulties with social pragmatic communication. Research in this area is limited, but evidence suggests that social pragmatic communication difficulties (SPCD) can have long-term impact on YP’s social relationships (Whitehouse, Watt, Line and Bishop, 2009). DSM-5 introduced Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder (SPCD); a new diagnostic category defined as “persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication” in the absence of the rigid, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours that characterise Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). However, SPCD is a relatively new label that is not widely used. YP with SPCD are at risk of falling through gaps between the support available to those with a diagnosis of language impairment and those with ASD. Friendships provide emotional support and opportunities for learning social skills (Durkin and Conti-Ramsden, 2010). There is limited research into friendship in YP with SPCD, but research with YP with other communication difficulties suggests friendship may support emotional well-being (Conti-Ramsden & Botting, 2008). Therefore, research is needed to explore the potentially protective role of friendship for YP with SPCD. This thesis explored the views and experiences of YP with SPCD, focussing on friendship and related aspects of emotional well-being. The study used a qualitative approach involving semi-structured interviews with 6 secondary school pupils with SPCD. A multiple case study design brought together data for each YP triangulated with the accounts of parents and school staff, to explore friendship and related aspects of emotional well-being. The findings offer potential insights into the role of friendship and supporting factors for YP with SPCD. These have potential implications for EP practice, including the importance of raising awareness of the needs of this vulnerable group, and using YP’s views to inform development of holistic support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available