Author: Kladko E. GBU CSP "Formula Rosta" (Russia)
socialization, mental health, communication, child with special needs, inclusion
In the modern world the problem of children inclusion has become very acute. Possibility to communicate is in high demand among children with special needs. Speech barriers can easily be overcome by using social networks and various chat rooms for communication. With virtual communication, shyness and avoidance of communication are reduced for both normal children and children with special needs.
The objective of this study is to reveal positive tendency in communication in the Internet among children with special needs.
The method of the study is the questionnaire which has been written and adapted for the respondents. The respondents are 20 persons (teenagers with special needs aged from 13 to 17).
Main results: 3 respondents out of 20 have not changed their views on communication with their peers. Another 5 respondents have felt that shyness before communication has been reduced. The remaining 13 people have had positive interaction experience. They are willing to continue communication in social networks and have found online pen pals.
Conclusion. The study has showed that social networking and messaging have a positive impact on the attitude of adolescents with special needs towards communication. Many children with special needs have speech spectrum disorders and have difficulties in starting informal communication with peers because of shyness, increased time of this communication. However, in virtual communication, these barriers are significantly reduced, the quality of social life, confidence, overall psychological state are improved.
In addition, it is important that respondents "on the other side of the screen" (normal teenagers) have been willing to make contact, showed interest (which might not happened in everyday life) even if they never had prior communication with people with special needs. Therefore, virtual communication is effective as a way of establishing informal communication for children with special needs.