Influence of Communicative Competence on Peer Preferences in a Preschool Classroom Recent research suggests that children’s linguistic competence may play a central role in establishing social acceptance. That possibility was evaluated by examining children’s peer relationships in a preschool classroom attended by children with varying degrees of communication ability. Three groups of children were compared: children with normally developing language skills ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1994
Influence of Communicative Competence on Peer Preferences in a Preschool Classroom
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Bethany L. Gertner
    Speech Services, Associated Children’s Therapies, Chattanooga, TN
  • Mabel L. Rice
    Child Language Program, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Pamela A. Hadley
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, Child Language Program, University of Kansas, 1082 Dole Center, Lawrence, KS 66045. e-mail: Mabel@ukanvm.bitnet
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1994
Influence of Communicative Competence on Peer Preferences in a Preschool Classroom
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1994, Vol. 37, 913-923. doi:10.1044/jshr.3704.913
History: Received August 2, 1993 , Accepted February 24, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1994, Vol. 37, 913-923. doi:10.1044/jshr.3704.913
History: Received August 2, 1993; Accepted February 24, 1994

Recent research suggests that children’s linguistic competence may play a central role in establishing social acceptance. That possibility was evaluated by examining children’s peer relationships in a preschool classroom attended by children with varying degrees of communication ability. Three groups of children were compared: children with normally developing language skills (ND), children with speech and/or language impairments (S/LI), and children learning English as a second language (ESL). Two sociometric tasks were used to measure peer popularity: positive nominations and negative nominations. Children in the ND group received more positive nominations than the children in either the ESL or S/LI groups. When the children’s positive and negative nominations were combined to classify them as Liked, Disliked, Low Impact, or Mixed, the ND children predominated in the Liked cell, whereas the other two groups of children fell into the Disliked or Low Impact cells. In addition, the PPVT-R, a receptive measure of single-word vocabulary, was found to be the best predictor of peer popularity. The findings are discussed in terms of a social consequences account of language limitations.

Acknowledgments
Data collection was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts completed by the first author and was supported by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education under award #HO24U80O01 to the Kansas Early Childhood Research Institute for which Rice is principal investigator. We appreciate the participation of the children and their parents in the Language Acquisition Preschool and express special thanks to our colleagues Betty Bunce and Kim Wilcox for their helpful suggestions. Portions of this study were presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans, LA, March 1993.
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