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Augment Altern Commun. 2012 Mar;28(1):33-43. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2011.653604.

School participation and social networks of children with complex communication needs, physical disabilities, and typically developing peers.

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Novita Children's Services, Adelaide, Australia.


The aim of the study was to describe and compare the school participation and social networks of children with physical disabilities and complex communication needs (Group CCN), children with physical disabilities only (Group PD), and children with typical development (Group TD). The 39 participants, 10-15 years of age, were observed for 4 hours at school. School staff and the parent and/or child provided information on children's social networks. A striking observation was that, while participants in Group TD continuously conversed and socialized with peers inside and outside classrooms; those in Group CCN rarely used aided AAC, were provided with limited communication opportunities at school, and had fewer acquaintances and friends. Findings warrant intervention at the participation level at school and in the community.

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