Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children with disabilities benefit from classroom inclusion

Date:
July 28, 2014
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
The secret to boosting the language skills of preschoolers with disabilities may be to put them in classrooms with typically developing peers, a new study finds.

The secret to boosting the language skills of preschoolers with disabilities may be to put them in classrooms with typically developing peers, a new study finds.

Related Articles


Researchers found that the average language skills of a child's classmates in the fall significantly predicted the child's language skills in the spring -- especially for children with disabilities.

The results support inclusion policies in schools that aim to have students with disabilities in the same classrooms alongside their typically developing peers, said Laura Justice, co-author of the study and professor of teaching and learning at The Ohio State University.

"Students with disabilities are the ones who are affected most by the language skills of the other children in their class," Justice said.

"We found that children with disabilities get a big boost in their language scores over the course of a year when they can interact with other children who have good language skills."

In fact, after one year of preschool, children with disabilities had language skills comparable to children without disabilities when surrounded by highly skilled peers in their classroom.

"The biggest problem comes when we have a classroom of children with disabilities with no highly skilled peers among them," Justice said. "In that case, they have limited opportunity to improve their use of language."

Justice conducted the study with Jessica Logan, a senior researcher in education, and Tzu-Jung Lin, assistant professor of educational studies, both at Ohio State; and Joan Kaderavek, a professor of education at the University of Toledo.

Their study will appear in the journal Psychological Science.

The study involved 670 preschool-aged children enrolled in 83 early childhood special education classrooms in Ohio. About half of the children had an Individualized Education Plan, signaling presence of a disability. Between 25 and 100 percent of children in each classroom had a disability.

All children's language skills were measured in the fall and spring of the academic year with a commonly used test called the Descriptive Pragmatics Profile.

The average score of all children in an individual classroom was used to determine each child's relative status in terms of language development, and whether their classmates were more highly skilled, less skilled or average.

While all children's language skills were affected somewhat by the skill levels of their classmates, the effect was strongest for those with disabilities, the study found.

For those children with disabilities who were in classrooms with the most highly skilled peers, language scores in the spring were about 40 percent better than those of children with disabilities who were placed with the lowest-ranked peers.

Students who had no disabilities showed about a 27 percent difference in scores between those with the highest-ranked peers and the lowest-ranked peers.

This study, like others, finds that the most highly skilled students are the ones whose language improvement is least affected by the skill of their classmates, Justice said.

"The highly skilled children aren't hurt by being in classrooms with children who have disabilities," she said.

"But children with disabilities are vulnerable if they aren't placed with more highly skilled peers."

Justice said she and her colleagues are currently doing research that directly compares the effects teachers have on language development versus the effect of peers.

Early results suggest teachers matter most, "but peers definitely have an impact on language development," she said.

Peers help because they spend more time one-on-one with their fellow classmates than teachers can. Children with disabilities have the opportunity to observe, imitate and model the language use of their peers who do not have disabilities.

"In a sense, the typically developing children act as experts who can help their classmates who have disabilities," Justice said.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that more than half of preschoolers with disabilities are enrolled in early childhood classrooms with typically developing peers.

Justice said these results suggest that all preschoolers with disabilities would benefit from inclusion policies.

"We have to give serious thought to how we organize our classrooms to give students with disabilities the best chance to succeed," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. The original article was written by Jeff Grabmeier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laura Justice et al. Peer Effects in Early Childhood Education: Testing the Assumptions of Special-Education Inclusion. Psychological Science, 2014 [link]

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Children with disabilities benefit from classroom inclusion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140728104504.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2014, July 28). Children with disabilities benefit from classroom inclusion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140728104504.htm
Ohio State University. "Children with disabilities benefit from classroom inclusion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140728104504.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins