The article addressed whether language affected social growth by measuring their ability to communicate socially. The idea behind the study is that social competence is partially linked with communication ability and therefore those with language disorders may have a negative effect on social competence. Based off the above sentence it makes sense that communication disorders may be detrimental to social growth and lead to larger problems down the road. The inability to communicate effectively with others in the room or understand and interpret social clues can have a spiraling effect towards frustration and anger in the social concept. This could eventually bring along behavioral problems by the students.
The study performed several tests focused on social competence and clues to speech/language impaired (SLI) and non-language impaired (NLI) children to see if there were major differences between the results of the two groups. These differences may lead to clues on how language impairment can affect students.
The researches performed six separate tests on the children. The tests included teacher/parent rating of their child’s interactions, interpretation of different facial clues and emotion in a social context, social interaction scale, and the TELD-2 test which “assesses young children’s expressive and receptive language ability, both in form (syntax/morphology) and content (semantics)”.
Most of the results were comparable between SLI and NLI students. In the teacher/parent ratings, parents rated SLI children lower for self control and teachers rated them lower for assertiveness. The researchers felt this may be due to a difference in social context for the two groups. The SLI students performed more poorly on exhibiting an appropriate emotional response for a stereotyped demonstration showing that there may be situations when SLI students do not act appropriately. The TELD-2 tests showed that SLI students scored much lower on the “semantics of language” portion of the test showing SLI weakness at disseminate the meaning from the complex subtleties and nuance of communication.
One of the weaknesses of the study was it was performed within settings where the two groups were separated, i.e. SLI students were with other SLI students, and NLI students with NLI students. This could have been a major factor on the results and further studies that merge the groups should be completed. The final conclusion from the study though is that SLI students may be at a disadvantage when developing social competence due to their language deficits but this was not clear. Further studies should be completed to confirm or deny these findings. As an educator it is important to remember that language between students can have important manifestations in social situations and to support students with communication disorders in the classroom.
created by George Hughes-Strange
McCabe, P. Meller, P. (2004) The relationship between language and social competence: How language impairment affects social growth. Psychology in the Schools. Mar2004, Vol. 41 Issue 3, p313-321, 9p