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Teacher-child relationships and classroom-learning behaviours of children with developmental language disorders

Background: Children with developmental language disorders (DLDs) often struggle with classroom behaviour. No study has examined whether positive teacher-child relationships may act as a protective factor for children with DLDs in that these serve to enhance children's important classroom-learning behaviours. Aims: To examine the association between the quality of teacher-child relationships and teacher-rated classroom-learning behaviours of children with DLDs in both preschool and kindergarten. Methods & Procedures: Longitudinal data were collected on 191 preschoolers (mean = 42.4 months of age, SD = 11.6 months) with DLDs in special education classrooms during preschool and in kindergarten. Teacher-child relationship quality was assessed in preschool, and children's classroom-learning behaviours were measured in preschool and kindergarten. Regression models were used to examine the relationship between teacher-child relationship quality and children's concurrent and future classroom-learning behaviours. Outcomes & Results: Positive teacher-child relationship quality in preschool was associated with better classroom-learning behaviours in preschool and kindergarten for children with DLDs. Preschool teacher-child relationship quality characterized by low levels of conflict and high levels of closeness was associated with positive classroom-learning behaviours during preschool. Teacher-child conflict but not closeness was predictive of children's classroom-learning behaviours in kindergarten. Conclusions & Implications: These results suggest that the quality of the teacher-child relationship for children with DLDs during preschool is associated within their learning-related behaviours in the classroom both concurrently and in the subsequent year. Findings suggest that teacher-child relationships should be explored as a mechanism for improving the learning-related behaviours of children with DLDs. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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