Prediction of Social Competence and Social Integration in Children with or at-Risk for Intellectual Disability
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Research in the field of intellectual disability (ID) has long recognized that social skills and, in turn, social acceptance, are key areas of difficulty for children with ID. However, little work has been done to examine the factors that may contribute to the development of these difficulties. This study examined early childhood parent-child interactions, as well as early characteristics of both the parent and the child, in order to identify the factors that may be relevant to the later development of social competence and social integration. The study found that the social competence of school-aged children with ID affects the extent to which they are integrated within the social and academic domains. Furthermore, school-age social competence was affected by child and parent functioning in toddlerhood. The findings have important implications for intervention, as mentally healthy, well-supported parents may pose a protective factor for at-risk children. Future studies will need to further examine the role of parent-child interactions in child development.