Special needs children 'must get more help to make friends'
Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, such as ADHD, need more support in school to help them make friends, according to a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute.
The recommendation follows research that children with special educational needs (Sen) have fewer friends in school and, when they do have friends the quality of their relationships is not as high as other children.
Among all children with an Sen, those with emotional and behavioural difficulties are most likely to feel isolated.
The findings are based on analysis of data collected from 8,578 nine-year-olds as part of the 'Growing Up in Ireland' study. Report authors Joanne Banks and Selina McCoy said they "suggest the need for specific programmes to encourage positive peer interactions for this group of students".
The authors also stated that as well as measuring academic progress, more subtle aspects of children's development and participation should be considered.