04 SES 09 A, Predictors of Social Inclusion
In the early stages of development towards inclusive education, the traditional school system is facing severe challenges. One of the core issues is the social integration of children with special educational needs (SEN). Several international studies suggest that the initial goal of social integration of children with special educational needs is put into practice less satisfactory than intended (Pijl & Frostad, 2010). A meta-analysis across 152 studies Kavale & Forness (1996) showed significant differences in peer acceptance (ES = .815) between children with and without special educational needs. Compared to students without SEN, students with SEN had fewer friends, felt less accepted, were victimized and indicated feelings of loneliness. Therefore, children with low social competence plus behavioural problems can be considered as a high-risk group in integrative and special settings.
The topic of the proposed symposium is the inclusion of students with SEN into the regular school system and its challenges. The question for this symposium is to find predictors on how to socially integrate students with special educational needs successfully. All papers submitted to the symposium empirically examine the social participation of students with SEN in different countries and across school grades. The symposium consists of presentations of three papers.
- The first paper is an empirical field survey describing the attitudes of peers towards classmates with special educational needs (SEN) and the role in peer acceptance and friendships of students with SEN. This study shows a positive correlation between attitudes of regular students towards the students with SEN and peer acceptance.
- Through an intervention study, the second paper shows how to foster positive attitudes of regular kindergarten students towards SEN students by conveying knowledge to the students about disabilities and by establishing positive face-to-face encounters with students with SEN.
- According to the social-referencing theory (Feinman, 1992) the third paper uses an experimental 2x2 design in order to examine how students with SEN are being socially accepted by regular students dependent on the content of feedback a teacher gives to an individual student. The hypothesis is that children with Down Syndrome receive a higher social acceptance by regular students when (1) the teacher feedback towards a Down Syndrome student is positive and (2) the probands attend an inclusive school.
- The discussant Elias Avramidis is an international expert in the field of social inclusion. He will critically analyze the significance of the papers and discuss the impact of the results to the field
Feinman, S. (1992). Social Referencing and Conformity. In S. Feinman (Ed.), Social referencing and the social construction of reality in infancy (pp. 229–268). New York: Plenum Press.
Kavale, K. A., & Forness, S. R. (1996). Social skill deficits and learning disabilities: A meta-analysis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(3), 226–237. doi:10.1177/002221949602900301
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