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Engaging youth with disabilities in school: building and sustaining positive relationships

Assessment and Intervention

ISBN: 978-0-85724-829-9, eISBN: 978-0-85724-830-5

ISSN: 0735-004X

Publication date: 1 April 2011


The development of social and emotional competence for children and adolescents occurs in the context of relationships they have with adults and peers. For students with disabilities and those who experience significant behavioral risk, building and sustaining positive relationships with teachers is vital to the development of social competence. In this chapter, we focus on relationships between teachers and students within a developmental framework, examining characteristics of these relationships for children and youth with and without disabilities, and showing how the quality of those relationships can be assessed and improved to foster student engagement in school. The chapter is comprised of three main sections. First, we provide a developmental framework for the development of positive, sustaining relationships with teachers for youth with and without disabilities. Second, we review methods for assessing the quality of those relationships; and third, we describe effective interventions to support sustaining relationships among students with disabilities and their teachers and peers.


Talbott, E. and Cushing, L.S. (2011), "Engaging youth with disabilities in school: building and sustaining positive relationships", Scruggs, T.E. and Mastropieri, M.A. (Ed.) Assessment and Intervention (Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 321-339.



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