Special Features Of Speech Communication Of Primary School Children With Disabilities


The relevance of the study is due to the fact that at the present stage of development of special and inclusive education, one of the main tasks is the development of the personality of children with disabilities, their adaptation and socialization in society. The success of their preparation for independent life in society depends not only on the acquisition of certain knowledge in academic subjects and skills of professional and labor activity, but also on the level of formation of communication skills. The development of verbal means of communication of primary school children with disabilities is one of the most important problems at the present stage of development of social relations. In this regard, this article is devoted to the study of the features of verbal communication of primary schoolchildren with disabilities. By speech communication, we mean the ability to quickly and correctly navigate in the conditions of communication, correctly plan your speech and choose the content of the meaning of communication, choose adequate means to convey this message and provide feedback. The leading method of research was an experimental study, which revealed the level of formation and features of speech communication of younger schoolchildren. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the results of studying communicative skills in this category of children is presented. The article presents the features of verbal communication of primary school children with disabilities. The proposed diagnostic technique can be successfully used by specialists who work in conditions of special and inclusive education.

Keywords: Junior schoolchildren with disabilities, speech, communication


Full-fledged speech communication is a necessary condition for the implementation of normal social human contacts, and this, in turn, expands the child's ideas about the life around him. The child's mastery of speech to a certain extent regulates his behavior, helps to plan adequate participation in various forms of collective activity.

Primary school age is a long period of a child's life. Living conditions at this time are rapidly expanding: the framework of the family is extended to the limits of the street, city, country. The child discovers the world of human relations, different types of activities and social functions of people. In addition, no less strongly he strives for independence. From this contradiction, interpersonal relationships with peers are born – an independent sphere of communication of children, modeling interpersonal relationships of adults.

Mudrik (2001) believes that impaired communication in childhood leads to a loss of emotional contacts with adults and peers, to a lack of a revitalization complex, an underdevelopment of the communicative function of speech, to an inability to establish relationships correctly, and poor communication skills. In this regard, the author raises the question of preparing a person for communication, the formation of his communicative skills necessary for effective entry into the social environment, and resisting frustrating influences.

As noted by Agavelyan and Agavelyan (2004) Golikov (2016), imperfection of skills associated with the use of speech as a means of communication is a characteristic feature of students with disabilities. In this regard, there are difficulties in organizing free communication, difficulties in the development of speech-thinking activities.

The process of the formation of communicative activity in children with disabilities is significantly influenced by a violation of mental processes, in particular attention (Shapovalova et al., 2019).

Boikov and Boikova, (2020), Rostomashvili and Kolosova, (2015) emphasize that the leading factors causing deviations in the development of the personality of a child with developmental disabilities associated with communication are the shortcomings of the orientation of the child's position in communication and insufficient knowledge of the means of communicative activity, especially operational ones. In this regard, the solution of the problem of timely detection of communication disorders in children with disabilities in order to provide them with further qualified assistance is of great importance at the social level.

Problem Statement

Speech is the most important tool for the socialization of children with disabilities, acting in its functional purpose as a means of cognition and communication. It is of great importance for the development of mental processes, the entire personality of the child, the formation of thinking and the emotional-volitional sphere. As a result, the development of verbal communication in such children is one of the urgent problems of special pedagogy.

Considering the current state of the problem of studying the communicative activity of schoolchildren with disabilities, it should be noted that many aspects of diagnostics remain insufficiently developed.

The content side of communication skills, criteria and indicators of their formation in children with disabilities are not sufficiently disclosed.

In this regard, it is necessary to develop a methodological toolkit for studying the communicative activity of primary school children with disabilities.

Our research presents the results of studying the communication skills of children in this category.

Research Questions

Currently, Russian pedagogy is based on theoretical positions that determine the essence and significance of the formation of communicative skills in the development of a child. Many scientific studies are based on the concept of activity created by Leontiev (2012). Relying on it, Lisina (2015) characterized communication as a communicative activity.

According to Leonov (2019), the importance of human communication for the existence and development of society and the individual is explained by the function of information content. A change in the current situation leads to the need for new information as a means of changing a person's behavior in a social environment. Information exchange is considered as a channel of direct and feedback in communication. Without taking into account the feedback information, a person will not be able to navigate the system of individual and social relations (Leonov, 2019).

Leontiev (2011) states that human communication is impossible without the use of speech. The main way to meet a person's personal communication needs is through speech. That is why it is called speech (verbal) communication. That is, it is with the help of speech that communication between individuals most often occurs.

Vygotsky (2017) points out that communicative skills contribute to the child's mental development. The author writes about the importance of developing a child's speech as a method of communication, about the development of its communicative function.

The importance of improving the communication skills of primary school children with disabilities for their harmonious psychophysical and personal development, successful learning at school and further socialization in society is emphasized. Socialization is considered as a process of assimilation of social experience by a child, its gradual introduction to social relations (Emelyanova et al., 2018).

At present, children with disabilities include those children whose health condition prevents the assimilation of educational programs outside the special conditions of education and upbringing.

Zhigoreva and Levchenko (2016), emphasize the need for the formation of communication skills, disclose the issues of training and education of this category of children. Particular attention is paid to the development and correction of speech as the main means of communication.

According to a number of authors, at present, in the conditions of inclusive education, it is necessary to create special conditions for the development of communication skills in children with disabilities. Then many of them will be able to fully participate in the educational process on an equal footing with their normally developing peers, acquire social skills and abilities (Komandyshko, 2019; Romanova et al., 2019; Shukshina et al., 2017).

Purpose of the Study

This study was carried out from September to December 2020 on the basis of the regional state autonomous educational institution "Education Center" Steps "(Birobidzhan). Its purpose was to study the features of the communication skills of junior schoolchildren with disabilities.

The novelty of this work is represented by a significant amount of experimental data on the state of verbal communication of schoolchildren in grades 1 and 2 with disabilities, which significantly supplement the information available in the scientific literature on the features of communication of this category of children.

Research Methods

The study involved 20 learners with disabilities in grades 1-2.

In order to reveal the ability of schoolchildren to establish and maintain contacts, to enter into verbal communication with classmates, the “Let's talk” technique was carried out with the test subjects. The following instruction was offered: “Children, today we have an unusual lesson. You will tell and show me what your classmate did on the day off. To do this, you must first ask your friend about what he did on Sunday, and then draw a picture "How my classmate spent the weekend." You can give advice to your friend; you can discuss together what the future drawing will be".

The learners worked in pairs. We watched them and wrote down phrases, sayings, remarks used by younger schoolchildren during the conversation. The criteria for assessing the formation of verbal communication were the following: the ability to ask questions; ability to answer questions; grammatical design of speech. The listed skills together determine the possibilities for the participation of primary schoolchildren with disabilities in communication, which became the basis for their inclusion in the assessment system of communication skills.

For each criterion, the following scoring system was used to evaluate the results.

Ability to ask questions:

2 points - the child formulates questions;

1 point - the child finds it difficult to ask the question;

0 points - the child cannot formulate the question.

Ability to answer questions:

2 points - the child answers questions;

1 point - the child finds it difficult to answer questions;

0 points - the child cannot answer the questions.

Grammatical design of speech:

2 points - the child's speech is competent;

1 point - allows minor grammatical errors in speech;

Then we calculated the total amount of points. When calculating the results, we identified 3 main levels of formation of speech communication in younger schoolchildren who took part in the experiment. A high level corresponded to the number of points from 5 to 6 points, if the subjects scored from 3 to 4 points, then this corresponded to the average level, a low level was assigned if the pupils scored from 0 to 2.


Before proceeding directly to the description of the survey results, we consider it necessary to provide data on the characteristics of primary schoolchildren with disabilities who took part in the experiment. Based on the study of medical, psychological and pedagogical documentations, we received information about the features of early development, the conditions for raising a child in a family. We were also interested in the conclusion of the PMPK on the state of sensory and psychoverbal development of the subjects.

Upon admission to school, all children had a specialist opinion on their neuropsychic, physical and speech development. All students included in the group of subjects, according to the conclusion of the PMPK, belonged to the category of children with disabilities. 6 pupils had mental retardation, 5 junior schoolchildren were with mental retardation, 5 students had an autism spectrum disorder, 4 children had speech disorders (dyslalia, dysarthria, motor alalia) and general speech symptoms corresponded to the general speech underdevelopment of 2-3 levels.

It should be noted that we did not reveal a significant difference in the results of the work of pupils in grades 1-2 with disabilities, which indicates the weak dynamics of the development of their communicative sphere. Therefore, we present the data of the experimental study for the entire sample as a whole. There were only qualitative differences in the state of the communicative skills of primary schoolchildren due to the presence of a primary defect.

As we expected, when performing the “Let's Talk” diagnostic technique, none of the subjects could independently organize a dialogue. We would like to remind that the children who worked in pairs were offered to talk to each other on the topic “What did you do on Sunday”.

The students were paired according to the primary defect and the level of oral speech development.

A high level of formation of dialogic speech was not found in any student with disabilities.

The average level of development of dialogic speech was shown by 8 (40%) subjects. The quantitative ratio of the subjects, taking into account the primary defect, is determined as follows: there was 1 person among the students with intellectual disabilities at this level, 4 primary school students were mentally retarded, and 3 students with general speech underdevelopment. They waited for instructions from an adult before starting a dialogue. Pupils experienced difficulty in posing the question and formulating the answer. Lexical inaccuracies were noted in the speech, and agrammatism was present. In particular, the grammatical connection of words in sentences was broken. Communication took place at the level of simple sentences and monosyllabic answers. They were satisfied with the monosyllabic answers of the interlocutor, they did not always show interest in their content. Each subsequent question in the construction of the dialogue caused more and more difficulties. In these cases, they sought to end the dialogue.

The remaining 12 (60%) subjects showed a low level of dialogic speech. This group included 5 primary school students with intellectual disabilities, 1 student with mental retardation, 5 students with autism and 1 child with general speech underdevelopment. They were unable to ask questions even when providing assistance. They understood questions only when accompanied by verbal information with gestures. They answered in monosyllables and made gross lexical and grammatical errors. During the entire dialogue, the children did not show sufficient speech activity, the entire communication process was carried out with our help. In general, it should be noted that these students had no desire to be engaged in a dialogue using spoken language, sought to use gestures, or refused to respond.

Let's take as an example a dialogue in one pair of children with autism (for confidentiality purposes, all children's names were changed).

It was started by Timofey S., since the boy had phrasal speech. We asked him to ask Roman V. what he was doing on Sunday.

Timofey: "Roma, what did you do on the weekend?"

Roman ignored the question.

Timofey repeated the question and accompanied it with gestures, trying to attract the attention of the interlocutor.

Roman: "Played".

Timofey didn’t know what to ask Roman. We helped him: "Ask Roma who he played with and what?"

Timofey: "Roma, who did you play with?"

Roman: "Telephone".

Timofey found it difficult to ask a question. We helped the student to choose a question.

Timofey: "Were there you friends?"

Roman: "No."

A similar picture was observed when organizing a dialogue in the remaining pairs.

When completing the drawings, 8 (40%) subjects entered into verbal contacts, but only in order to control and direct the activities of their comrades by means of demands and orders. So, for example, Lera M., addressing Igor P. with the words: “Don't paint such a dress. I want blue,” snatched the red pencil from the boy. 6 (30%) students showed complete autonomy in artistic activity. They did not discuss the content of the drawings, did not express their wishes about the image of individual details. For example, Misha K. and Maxim T. drew in silence. When they finished, they showed each other the drawings. When we asked them if they liked them, the boys answered in monosyllables: "Yes." They couldn't answer our next question: "What did you like about the images?" 6 (30%) students refused to complete this task, saying: "I won't draw, I don't know."


Thus, the study showed that younger students with disabilities are not able to independently maintain contacts with their peers on their own. The "communicative barrier" hinders their social adaptation, does not allow the full use of even the available speech and language means. This, in turn, can lead to the emergence and consolidation of speech negativism, isolation. In this regard, there is a need for the formation of communication skills in younger schoolchildren with disabilities in the process of correctional and developmental impact.


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Emelyanova, I. A., Shapovalova, O. E., Karynbaeva, O. V., & Borisova, E. A. (2021). Special Features Of Speech Communication Of Primary School Children With Disabilities. In & N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), Amurcon 2020: International Scientific Conference, vol 111. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 257-263). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.06.03.35