Nurturing caregivers helps disabled kids

March 4, 2013 at 7:53 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, March 4 (UPI) -- Many developmentally challenged children face social and emotional challenges including depression, anxiety and isolation, Israeli researchers say.

Dr. Michal Al-Yagon of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education said for these youngsters more positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives -- including parents and teachers -- can improve learning and socioemotional experiences.

However, the absence of such close and supportive relationships had an adverse effect on the teens' social and emotional functioning, contributing to behavioral problems including isolation, depression and aggression.

The study published, in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, reported teens with learning disabilities were less likely to have secure attachment relationships to their mothers and teachers compared to peers without learning disabilities.

"We found that more secure child-adult attachments may act as a protective factor during this developmental period, whereas insecure attachments are a risk factor for social and emotional issues," Al-Yagon said in a statement.

Al-Yagon and colleagues measured the socioemotional state and the security of attachments to parents and teachers for 181 adolescents with learning disabilities and 188 with typical development, all between the ages of 15 and 17.

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