Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Teachers' and Mothers' Assessment of Social Skills of Students with Mental Retardation*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Teachers' and Mothers' Assessment of Social Skills of Students with Mental Retardation*

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to compare the assessment results of social skills of students with mental retardation by their teachers and mothers through relational model by using descriptive statistics. The research group in this study consisted of mothers and teachers of 562 children with mental retardation aged between 6 and 12 who enrolled in special education schools and special classes. For 6-12 age group, Teacher Form of Social Skills Rating System (SSRS-TF) and Parent Form of Social Skills Rating System (SSRS-PF) were used to collect data. Initially, this study investigated whether there was a relation between the mother and teacher assessment results of social skills of students with mental retardation. Then it examined whether the social skills of students with mental retardation differ according to the various variables such as gender, age, level of retardation, and additional disability. According to the results of analysis, a high correlation was found between the total scores of social skills scale obtained after mother and teacher assessments. Additionally, a high correlation was found between externalizing behavior subscale score and hyperactivity subscale score and the assertiveness subscale score of teachers and parents forms. Moreover, a high correlation was observed between the total scores of problem behavior subscales of teachers and parents forms. There is a moderate relationship between cooperation skills subscales score, self-control skills subscales score and internalizing problem behaviors subscales score. In addition, the social skills of the girls are more than those of the boys, and their problem behaviors are lower than those of the males. The social skills of the students with mental retardation who are in 6-9 age group are significantly lower than those of the students who are in 10-12 age group, and problem behaviors do not differ according to age of the students.

Key Words

Social Skills, Problem Behaviors, Evaluation of Social Skills, Children with Mental Retardation.

One of the most important challenges individuals with mental retardation face while interacting with their peers and other people is their deficiency in social skills (Heiman & Margalit, 1998; Merrell & Gimpel, 1998; Sargent, 1991). Cognitive limitation is considered to the most important factor for the inadequate social skills of students with mental retardation (Gumpel, 1994). Greenspan and Shoultz (1981) state that cognitive limitations of individuals with mental retardation adversely affect their decision making about how to behave in some certain situations (cited in Huang & Cuvo, 1997). Therefore, it is noted that students with mental retardation are unable to master social skills and have difficulty in generalizing the learnt social skills in different environments (Sargent, 1991; Warger & Rutherford, 1996). Moreover, it is accepted that students who lack social skills display problem behaviors to express themselves and thereby the need to decrease such problem behaviors and teach social skills have been emphasized (Merrell & Gimpel, 1998; Russell & Forness, 1985; Sargent).

Prior to teaching social skills, social skills of students need to be assessed (Gresham, 1997; Merrell, 2001). Rating scales, one of the commonly used assessment techniques, are applied to self-assess the social skills of the individual also used to be assessed by significant people such as parents and teachers (Gresham & Elliott, 1987; Luiselli, McCarty, Coniglio, Zorilla-Ramirez, & Putnam, 2005; Mercer & Mercer, 2005; Oppenheim, 1966; Zirpoli & Melloy, 1997). Numerous behavior rating scales have been developed to assess social skills. The most widely used of these is the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) (Gresham & Elliot, 1990). SSRS is used to assess social skills of children at different ages and with varying characteristics; additionally, it is used to compare social skills of children with and without insufficiency (Bramlett, Smith, & Edmonds, 1994; Fagan & Fantuzzo, 1999; Fujiki, Brinton, & Todd, 1996; Lyon, Albertus, Birkinbine, & Naibi, 1996; Macintosh & Dissanayake, 2006; Merrell & Popinga, 1994; Oord et al. …

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