Contemporary psychological and pedagogical studies pay special attention to the socialization of physically impaired children, inclusive education and methods of providing such children with a safe environment to assist in their development. However, difficulties in interpersonal communication experienced by children with health impairments have remained beyond the research scope. The authors conducted a comparative analysis of communication difficulties in typically developed teenagers aged 12-13 years (n = 100) and the problems faced by their peers with visual (n = 30), auditory (n = 30), speech (n = 25) and motor (n = 15) impairments. Actual communication difficulties in teenagers were studied in two ways: the subjective component of impaired communication was registered through a content analysis of a sentence completion test and the objective manifestations of impaired communication were identified through expert evaluation of children’s communicative behavior (educators and psychologists who had been in close contact with the teenagers acted as experts).
First, the authors identified typical standard communication problems that were characteristic of teenagers aged 12-13 years, that is, problems with aggression, tolerance, the ability to admit wrongdoing and make concessions, empathy, self-control, self-analysis and self-expression in communication. Second, typical communication difficulties characteristic of physically impaired children were revealed: failure to understand meaning; feelings of awkwardness and shame of oneself; expectations of a negative attitude toward oneself; gelotophobia; and manifestations of despotism, petulance and egotism as defensive reactions in situations of impaired communication. Third, the authors described specific communication difficulties in teenagers with auditory, visual, speech and motor impairments.
Keywords: impaired communication, communication difficulties, health impairments, teenagers, objective component of impaired communication, subjective emotional experiences