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Creating an Environment that Supports the Developing Social Skills of all Children

by Sarah A. Mulligan Gordon, Kathleen Miller Green, and Sandra L. Morris
September/October 1995
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/creating-an-environment-that-supports-the-developing-social-skills-of-all-children/5010547/

The early childhood environment presents a unique social opportunity for young children with disabilities. The everyday little kid experiences in early childhood programs generate opportunities for children with disabilities to learn to interact with their peers, develop relationships, participate in games that they and other children create, and develop a set of skills that will be continued in lifelong interactions. While social interaction is, in itself, a rewarding activity, it is also a vehicle for learning and provides an opportunity for children to practice skills in a natural context.

Young children with disabilities, particularly those with moderate to severe delays, often demonstrate fewer spontaneous social interactions and less mature social behaviors than their peers. There is a clear difference in both the frequency and the quality of their interactions (Odom and McEvoy, 1988). Children with disabilities are more likely to engage in solitary play, not join into groups, and may be chosen as play partners less often than their peers who are typically developing (Odom and Brown, 1993).

In order to create an environment that supports the emerging social skills of all children enrolled, early childhood curriculum must include experiences that teach children with and without disabilities to truly ...

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