ITEM METADATA RECORD
Title: Social participation of students with special educational needs in mainstream secondary school
Authors: Bossaert, Goele
Issue Date: 7-Jun-2012
Abstract: Over the past decades, the inclusion of students with special educational needs (SEN) in mainstream schools has become a global trend. Social participation has been considered a key issue in the inclusion debate. Nonetheless, research including all key themes of social participation, the quality of social participation, loneliness of students with SEN and its protective factors was scarce. Moreover, at the onset of our study, a claear delineation of social participation in secondary school was still lacking. Also comparisons between subgroups of students with SEN and boys and girls with SEN were scarce.Our study on social participation of students with SEN at 7th grade aimed to address these gaps. First, the concept of social participation of students with SEN in mainstream secondary school was delineated. We identified the same four key themes as found in primary school, i.e., (1) social interactions between students with SEN and their classmates; (2) peer acceptance; (3) friendships between them and their classmates, and (4) the social self-concept of the student with SEN. Second, a large-scale study was set up, including 147 student with SEN, and their 1926 typically developing classmates. This study revealed that two to three times as many students with ASD had social difficulties and felt lonely compared to typically developing classmates. Also significantly more girls with motor and/or sensory disabilities experience social difficulties than their typically developing classmates, yet they did not feel lonely. No differences in friendship quality were found between students with SEN and their typically developing classmates, nor were significant differences found between students with ASD and students with motor and/or sensory disabilities on any aspect of social participation. For 7th grade students with SEN, same-sex social self-concept was related with loneliness, but not, as for typically developing students, number of friends and opposite-sex social self-concept. Also friendship quality had a marginally significant effect on loneliness for students with SEN, but not for typically developing students.In conclusion, our findings underline the need to monitor the social situation and the subjective feelings of students with SEN more closely. Moreover, due to the different relations between friendships, social self-concept on the one hand and loneliness on the other hand, it seems that lonely students with SEN at this age are in need of different or adapted types of interventions than their classmates. 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Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development
Parenting and Special Education

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