UBC Graduate Research

Supporting Inclusion and Social and Emotional Learning Through Peer Relationships for Children with Down Syndrome Gray, Shannon


Children with Down syndrome (DS) often experience social isolation and peer rejection possibly resulting from social competency deficits related to executive functioning (EF). This project explores the dyadic relationship between Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and EF in children. Therefore, this project examines how improvements in peer relationships and SEL competencies may lead to improvements in EF, and suggests the cultivation of positive peer relationships through the promotion of SEL competencies in inclusive classrooms can be an effective intervention that impacts developmental outcomes for students with DS. The literature reviewed describes peer and teacher relationships and the efficacy of classroom-based SEL interventions to uphold these relationships. It also provides an overview of how the specific contributions of EF including inhibitory control, working memory, and set shifting support the development of SEL competencies in individuals with DS. In addition, this project incorporates a workshop that focuses on raising awareness of the barriers to social inclusion children with DS face as well as some possible solutions for improving developmental, social, and academic outcomes for these students. Recommendations include the proposal of a model of classroom intervention designed to enhance developmental outcomes for children with DS. This model is congruent with research that illustrates how classroom-based SEL interventions result in improved relationships between peers and teachers, contributing to a positive classroom climate.

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