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Children with language disorder as friends: Interviews with classroom peers to gather their perspectives

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jats:p Language disorder (LD) is a common childhood condition affecting language development, which can in turn impact children's peer relationships. Although most children with LD are included in mainstream classrooms, there is limited knowledge about the way friendships support or hinder the learning experiences of children with LD in inclusive settings. Typically developing (TD) peers’ views tend to get overlooked when considering inclusion but they need to be heard as they too adapt to inclusive classrooms. In this small-scale study, we explored the perspectives of peers on their friendship quality with children with LD. We conducted friendship interviews with classroom friends (n = 9) of 6–8-year-old children with LD (n = 9), who attended the enhanced provision and mainstream classrooms in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. We used sociometric nomination methods to identify the reciprocal friends of children with LD. We then interviewed these friends using art-based methods and analysed our interview data using thematic framework. Friends of children with LD attending the enhanced provision showed an inclusive mindset and revealed their own strategies for overcoming potential communication barriers. In contrast, friends in full-time mainstream classrooms did not report experiencing communication difficulties when interacting with a peer with LD. We conclude that educational practice should build on those inclusion strategies that children find natural and consider the importance of teaching all children about adjustments that can support inclusion of those with communication difficulties. </jats:p>


Peer reviewed: True

Funder: LEGO Foundation; FundRef:

Funder: Cambridge Trust; FundRef:


friendships, peer relationships, inclusive education, qualitative methods, participatory research, language disorder

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Child Language Teaching and Therapy

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SAGE Publications