Social status and initiations of interaction by learning disabled students in a regular education setting

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A number of major findings were derved from a sociometric and observational analysis of the social environment of seven learning disabled and 80 regular class peers. First, an analysis of the status scores indicated that nonhandicapped and learning disabled students were accepted at an equal level by class peers. With regard to social initiations exhibited in a lunchroom setting, learning disabled children differed from their regular class peers only in the frequency with which they initiated negative interactions and were responded to positively by the peer group. No other significant differences were found in the quality and quantity of initiations exhibited by learning disabled and regular class peers. Correlations were also performed to examine the relationship between status ratings and social initiations. Using status scores based upon total class ratings, the following significant relationships were found: (1) a negative correlation between status and frequency with which negative target initiations were responded to negatively for the total group of students as well as for regular class students alone; (2) a positive relationship between status and the proportion of positive target initiations that were responded to positively for the total group and for regular class students alone; and (3) a negative correlation between status and frequency of positive initiations by learning disabled subjects only.

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