Home-Based Peer Social Networks of Young Children With Down Syndrome: A Developmental Perspective

Center on Human Development and Disability, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7920, USA.
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Impact Factor: 2.08). 09/2009; 114(5):340-55. DOI: 10.1352/1944-7558-114.5.340
Source: PubMed


Numerous dimensions of the peer social networks of children with Down syndrome were examined within a developmental framework. Results revealed that for many key measures, particularly involvement in play, linkages to other settings, and control of play, children with Down syndrome have less well-developed peer networks even in comparison to a mental age matched group of typically developing children. This suggests both an absence of any social advantage in the peer context for children with Down syndrome and the existence of unusual difficulties that may be traced to underlying problems in peer-related social competence. The need for future observational studies of peer interactions for this group of children was emphasized.

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    • "Moreover, knowledge of risk and protective factors associated with peer competence processes is now emerging from studies of etiology-specific subgroups of children, such as those with Down syndrome or Fragile X syndrome (eg, Wishart, 2007). This type of information can provide a unique perspective to help us understand the peer competence of children with delays and related disabilities within contemporary frameworks (Guralnick, Connor, & Johnson, 2009; in press). Hopefully, when the history of early intervention to promote children's peer-related social competence is revisited a decade from now, future work will have generated new levels of theory, knowledge, and practice. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article presents a framework for future research and program development designed to support children's peer-related social competence. Intervention research is examined within a historical perspective culminating with a discussion of contemporary translational approaches capable of integrating models of normative development, developmental models of risk and disability, and intervention science.
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    ABSTRACT: Characterising how socio-cognitive abilities develop has been crucial to understanding the wider devel-opment of typically developing children. It is equally central to understanding developmental pathways in children with intellectual disabilities such as Down's syndrome. While the process of acquisition of socio-cognitive abilities in typical development and in autism has received consider-able attention, socio-cognitive development in Down's syndrome has received far less scrutiny. Initial work in the 1970s and 1980s provided impor-tant insights into the emergence of socio-cognitive abilities in the children's early years, and recently there has been a marked revival of interest in this area, with research focusing both on a broader range of abilities and on a wider age range. This annotation reviews some of these more recent find-ings, identifies outstanding gaps in current under-standing, and stresses the importance of the development of theory in advancing research and knowledge in this field. Barriers to theory building are discussed and the potential utility of adopting a transactional approach to theory building illustrated with reference to a model of early socio-cognitive development in Down's syndrome. The need for a more extensive model of social cognition is empha-sised, as is the need for larger-scale, finer-grained, longitudinal work which recognises the within-individual and within-group variability which char-acterises this population. The value of drawing on new technologies and of adapting innovative research paradigms from other areas of typical and atypical child psychology is also highlighted.
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