Investigation of Peer Relationships of Children with and without Special Needs in the Preschool Period
This study aimed to compare the peer relationships of preschool children with special needs with their peers without special needs, to determine whether the special needs variable predicts the peer relationships of children or not, and examine the peer relationships of children with special needs in terms of gender and age variables. 56 preschool teachers and a total of 112 children, 56 with special needs and 56 without special needs, were enrolled in the study. The data were collected by using the Information Form and the Child Behavior Scale (CBS). The results of the study indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the children with and without special needs in prosocial behaviors, asocial behaviors, anxious-fearful behaviors, and hyperactivity behaviors subscale scores. However, there was no significant difference between aggression and exclusion behavior subscale scores. It is observed that being with special needs significantly predicts prosocial behaviors in favor of children without special needs, and asocial, anxious-fearful and hyperactivity behaviors in favor of children with special needs. Furthermore, it was determined that gender and age variables do not create a statistically significant difference in the peer relationships of children with special needs. The findings of the study support the requirement to develop effective intervention programs which will increase the peer relationships and peer acceptance of children with special needs in preschool inclusive classes.
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