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The social lives and friendships of children with special educational needs outside of school: Parent perspectives

Higley, SE; (2017) The social lives and friendships of children with special educational needs outside of school: Parent perspectives. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Whilst a considerable amount of research has explored the social opportunities of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) during school time, there has been relatively little focus on these opportunities outside of school. This is particularly the case in the UK. This exploratory study sought parents’ perspectives on their children’s social opportunities and friendships outside of school. This study involved a mixed methods approach, incorporating two phases of data collection as well as background data from the Millennium Cohort Study. In phase 1, data was collected using a mixed, qualitative and quantitative survey for parents. In phase 2, semi-structured interviews were completed with parents. Phase 1 saw 229 parents of children and adolescents with a range of different SENs complete the survey. In phase 2, 5 mothers of children with SEN were interviewed. Children with SEN saw other children less frequently outside of school and were less likely to have at least one good friend than children without SEN. Results from phase 1 found the majority of parents reporting their children as seeing others in informal settings, ‘rarely or not at all’. A roughly equivalent number of parents reported their child as having (45%), as not having (41.5%), at least one good friend. The majority of children were found to be participating in at least one organised activity each week. Phase 2 interviews saw parents raise issues related to their children’s social opportunities. Issues related to both ‘within child’ factors and environmental factors were found to impact upon children’s social participation outside of school. The implication of these findings is that children with SEN have few opportunities to socialise with other children outside of school. It will be important that professionals are aware of this risk, and potential interventions are discussed which bridge school and home settings.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The social lives and friendships of children with special educational needs outside of school: Parent perspectives
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: special educational needs, children's friendships, children's social lives, outside school, SEN
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1527580
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