Communication among preschoolers with and without disabilities in same-age and mixed-age classes
Communicative interactions of preschool children with and without disabilities in classrooms of same or mixed ages were compared. Sixteen children with developmental disabilities (most with mild or moderate mental retardation) and 32 children without disabilities between 1.5 and 4.5 years of age were randomly assigned at the beginning of the school year to either a same- or mixed-age grouping of 6 children. They were observed 6 months later interacting with classmates in a standard free-play environment. Results showed that children in mixed-age classes took more turns in conversations with partners with disabilities than did children in same-age classrooms. They also received more turns from their partners with disabilities, which were more often responses than initiations in the mixed-age as compared to same-age classes. In contrast, during communicative interactions with partners without disabilities, children in both types of classes did not significantly differ in number or types of turns. Children of a similar developmental level also had similar communicative interaction styles
Roberts, J. E., Burchinal, M. R., & Bailey, D. (1994). Communication among preschoolers with and without disabilities in same-age and mixed-age classes. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 99(3), 231-249.