Emotional Regulation: A Critical Developmental Capacity Underlying Social Communicative Competence Emotional Regulation is one of the core developmental capacities that underlies the achievement of social communicative competence for young children (Prizant & Wetherby, 1990; Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin, Laurent, & Rydell, in press). Since capacities in social communication are highly correlated with positive outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2005
Emotional Regulation: A Critical Developmental Capacity Underlying Social Communicative Competence
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy C. Laurent
    Communication Crossroads, North Kingstown, RI
  • Barry M. Prizant
    Childhood Communication Services, Center for the Study of Human Development Brown University, Providence, RI
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2005
Emotional Regulation: A Critical Developmental Capacity Underlying Social Communicative Competence
SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues, October 2005, Vol. 6, 9-14. doi:10.1044/sbi6.3.9
SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues, October 2005, Vol. 6, 9-14. doi:10.1044/sbi6.3.9
Emotional Regulation is one of the core developmental capacities that underlies the achievement of social communicative competence for young children (Prizant & Wetherby, 1990; Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin, Laurent, & Rydell, in press). Since capacities in social communication are highly correlated with positive outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD; National Research Council [NRC],2001), it is critical to understand the developmental foundations that contribute to this achievement, as educational and therapeutic programming to facilitate growth in these areas is considered to be critical to effective education for children with ASD. A child’s developing social communication skills play a central role in the attainment of social communicative competence. More specifically, abilities related to initiating, sharing, and responding are essential to the development of meaningful exchanges with partners, and in turn, lead to the establishment of mutually satisfying social relationships with supportive partners. A child must be engaged with partners who are supportive and responsive, due to the transactional nature of social interactions and the importance of a partner’s interpersonal style in fostering social communicative competence. Responsive partners facilitate the child’s effectiveness and efficiency in his/her social exchanges (Prizant & Wetherby, 1989). A child must have the capacity to remain emotionally well-regulated to be “available” for engagement with partners, and to benefit maximally from partner support. Emotional regulation supports a child’s capacity for learning and social engagement by enabling a child to transition fluidly along the continuum of arousal and emotional states when faced with the challenges of everyday activities. For example, emotional regulatory strategies enable a child to selectively focus and attend during a book reading activity in a busy library and to respond adaptively with heightened arousal to a fire alarm.
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