When "Emily Dickinson" Met "Steven Spielberg" Assessing Social Information Processing in Literacy Contexts Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   July 01, 1999
When "Emily Dickinson" Met "Steven Spielberg"
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mavis L. Donahue
    College of Education, m/c 147, 1040 W. Harrison Street, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Carol M. Szymanski
    Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education, Oak Forest, IL
  • Christine Wujek Flores
    Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education, Oak Forest, IL
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: MDonahue@uic.edu
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders
Clinical Forum   |   July 01, 1999
When "Emily Dickinson" Met "Steven Spielberg"
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1999, Vol. 30, 274-284. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.3003.274
History: Received September 8, 1998 , Accepted April 5, 1999
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1999, Vol. 30, 274-284. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.3003.274
History: Received September 8, 1998; Accepted April 5, 1999

Current research and theory on social information processing is used to frame the peer interactions of "Emily Dickinson," a 16-year-old girl with a long history of oral language problems and social isolation, but strong interests in literacy. In ongoing assessment that prioritized authentic and ecologically valid data collected in classroom settings, the Crick and Dodge (1994) model was used to guide an analysis of Emily’s social-cognitive abilities and disabilities during peer interaction. These observations revealed that Emily had evolved a social schema that strategically recruited her strong literacy interests and skills to initiate and mediate social interaction with peers. This suggests that literacy curricula may be a valuable site for assessing and scaffolding social/communication problem-solving in students with language disabilities.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors are grateful to Emily and Steven and to their families for allowing us to tell their story.
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