Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Comparison of Social Engagement of Children Having Disabilities with Their Mothers and Fathers

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Comparison of Social Engagement of Children Having Disabilities with Their Mothers and Fathers

Article excerpt

Parents play a key role in their children's remarkable development during the early years by supporting them in achieving their developmental potential (Heath, 2005). For years there has been interest in whether the manner in which parents interact with children with disabilities is associated with variability in their rate of cognitive and communication development. According to some researchers (e.g., Heath, 2005, p. 88; Kelly & Barnard, 2000; Spiker, Boyce, & Boyce, 2002), there is a significant relationship between parent-child interaction and the child's later social and cognitive development. Parent and child also play an important role by mutually shaping their interactions that may promote the social-emotional, physical, and cognitive development of infants and toddlers (Wilson & Durbin, 2013). Furthermore, parent-child interactions, which are mostly formed by culture, are the basic process for the development of motives and abilities in the child (Trommsdorff & Kornadt, 2002, p. 289). Consistent with this interpretation, it has been concluded that, because limited genetic or biological conditions jeopardize the abilities of learning and development in children with disabilities, the impact of parent-child interaction in the early years is more crucial for these children than for typically developing children (Landry, Smith, & Swank, 2006, as cited in Perales Mahoney, 2009).

Over thirty years, many studies have appeared in the United States and Western countries aimed at understanding how parents and other caregivers interact with their children without or with developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome (DS) and autism (Mahoney & Nam, 2011, as cited in Diken & Mahoney, 2013). Some of these research studies, which focused on mother-child versus father-child interaction (e.g., Chiarello, Huntington, & Bundy, 2006; Girolametto & Tannock, 1994; Kochanska & Aksan, 2004; Mendonça, Cossette, Strayer, & Gravel, 2011; Power, 1985; Wilson & Durbin, 2013), indicated that mothers play a more dominant role in promoting and supporting their children's development than do fathers. Similar findings reported by Wilson and Durbin (2013) revealed that mothers were more responsive to their child as well as more involved in social and emotional interaction with them, whereas fathers displayed more control and discipline in relation to their child's behavior. As shown in the work of Girolametto and Tannock (1994), although both mothers and fathers demonstrated similarities in terms of organizing turn-taking control and of response referents and responses to their child's participation, fathers differed from mothers by using more response control and topic control than did mothers. Similarly, Power (1985) suggested that mothers were more responsive to their infant's cues indicating interest and attention than were fathers.

Research on parent-child interaction has reported two main findings. The first finding is that mothers of children with disabilities tend to be more directive and less responsive to their children than are mothers of children without disabilities (e.g., Ceber-Bakkaloglu & Sucuoglu, 2000; Hanzlik & Stevenson, 1986; Kim &Mahoney, 2004; Mahoney & Robenalt, 1986). Additionally, measures of maternal directiveness for mothers of children with disabilities are also associated with the severity of their children's developmental problem, as indicated either by their level of development (i.e., Intelligence Quotient [IQ] or Developmental Quotient [DQ]) or the severity of their disability (i.e., DS versus autism) (Yoder &Warren, 2004). Consistent with the literature, Kim and Mahoney (2004) found that mothers of children with disabilities displayed less responsiveness and higher directive behaviors than did mothers of typically developing children. Studies with Turkish mothers of children with disabilities, including autism and DS, also revealed that, similar to mothers from Western countries, Turkish mothers were more directive and less responsive (Diken, 2009; Diken & Mahoney, 2013; Karaaslan, Diken, & Mahoney, 2011). …

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