04 SES 12 A, Friendships, Friendship Quality and Friendship Stability Between Students with and Without Special Educational Needs
Even more than twenty years after the Salamanca statement, research continues to show that students with special educational needs (SEN) are often socially excluded (Garrote & Dessemontet, 2015) and have fewer friends than their typically developing peers (Eriksson et al, 2007). Students with SEN are also more vulnerable of being bullied by their typically developing peers (Rose et al, 2011), whereby bullying has been identified as one of the main risks to students´ well-being in schools (OECD, 2017). Studies comparing the social participation of groups of students having different types of SEN suggest that the risk of being less well-accepted by peers is higher for students with challenging behaviour than for students with learning difficulties (Avramidis, 2010; Bossaert et al, 2013). Making friends may not be easy. Children not only need the opportunity for interaction, but also need to have social skills, such as being able to share, understand feelings of others, know how to behave in social situations and being able to communicate. To this extent, research has indicated that students with good social skills have more friends and experience less rejection, whereas students with SEN may encounter difficulties based on associated difficulties with social skills and challenging behaviours. This is worrying as social interaction with typically developing peers is one of the main aims of inclusive education (Ainscow & Cesar, 2006) and often one of the main reasons for parents to place their child in a mainstream school (Scheepstra et al, 1999). Method: Preservice teachers and psychosocial care workers (N=82) completed measures of social participation, friendship and bullying for one of their students. Most students were described as having learning and/or behavioural difficulties. Results: A large proportion of students with SEN experienced social participation problems (26%). Furthermore, many students displayed conduct problems (40%) and experienced peer problems (41%) and mobbing (30%). The prosocial behavior of 41% of the students was rated low. Social participation was negatively correlated with peer problems and conduct problems, that is students with more peer or conduct problems are less socially integrated. In contrast, social participation was positively correlated with prosocial behavior. More specifically, students displaying better social skills are more successful in participating in their social group. Conclusion: Social participation and friendships emerged as areas of specific difficulty for students with SEN. These problems were reflected in reports of lower social acceptance, more peer problems and increased vulnerability for being mobbed.
Ainscow, M., & César, M. (2006). Inclusive education ten years after Salamanca: Setting the agenda. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 21, 231–238. Avramidis, E. (2010). Social relationships of pupils with special educational needs in the mainstream primary class: peer group membership and peer‐assessed social behaviour. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25, 413–429. Bossaert, G., Colpin, H., Pijl, S. J., & Petry, K. (2013). Social Participation of Students with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Seventh Grade. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 93, 1952–1956. Eriksson, L., Welander, J., & Granlund, M. (2007). Participation in everyday school activities for children with and without disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 19, 485–502. Garrote, A., & Dessemontet, R. S. (2015). Social Participation in Inclusive Classrooms: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations of an Intervention Program. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 14, 375–388. OECD (2017). PISA Results 2015 (Volume III): Students´ Well-Being. Paris; OECD Publishing. Rose, C. A., Monda-Amaya, L. E., & Espelage, D. L. (2011). Bullying perpetration and victimization in special education: A Review of the Literature. Remedial and Special Education, 32, 114–130.
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