An examination of characteristics related to the social skills of youths with visual impairments.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Visually disabled persons (Social aspects)
Visually disabled persons (Behavior)
Disabled youth (Social aspects)
Disabled youth (Behavior)
Social skills (Demographic aspects)
Social participation (Influence)
Work experience (Influence)
Authors: Zebehazy, Kim T.
Smith, Thomas J.
Pub Date: 02/01/2011
Publication: Name: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness Publisher: American Foundation for the Blind Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Foundation for the Blind ISSN: 0145-482X
Issue: Date: Feb, 2011 Source Volume: 105 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 249684292
Full Text: Abstract: The study presented here investigated factors that are related to social skills measures of youths with visual impairments. It found that participation in extracurricular activities and paid work experiences, as well as the age of onset of visual impairments, were significantly related to differences in the participants' scores on the Social Skills Rating System.

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From an early age, children with visual impairments can be at a disadvantage for developing social skills. Since vision plays a role in the early development of social behaviors and of social cognition-an ability to perceive and understand the social behaviors of others and the thoughts and feelings that underlie what people say and do (Pring, Dewart, & Brockbank, 1998)--the lack of visual cues could lead to difficulties in initiating and maintaining social interactions (MacCuspie, 1996; Sacks & Silberman, 2000). Without sufficient vision to observe these visual cues or adapted skills to compensate for the visual information, infants can be delayed in developing perspective-taking and joint-attention behaviors, both of which are considered early skills for social cognition (Farrenkopf & Davidson, 1992; McAlpine & Moore, 1995).

Several studies have documented that young children with visual impairments (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) may initiate fewer unsupported social interactions than may young children who are sighted (D'Allura, 2002; McGaha & Ferran, 2001; Skellenger, Rosenblum, & Jager, 1997; Troster & Brambring, 1994). Similarly, Buhrow, Hartshorne, and Bradley-Johnson (1998) found that children in first to sixth grade who were visually impaired showed significantly lower levels of social assertion than did a normed sample, when social assertion was measured using ratings by the children's parents on the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990). These children's teachers also rated the children significantly lower than the normed sample in the area of social cooperation.

The trend that some children with visual impairments may require additional support in developing social competence appears to have the potential to continue into the adolescent years. Wolffe and Sacks (1997) found that adolescents with visual impairments engaged in more passive or solitary activities than did sighted adolescents. The lack of social interaction is of concern for both students who are blind and those with low vision. For example, when compared to the blind and sighted adolescents in Wolffe and Sacks's study, those with low vision were the least likely to be involved in social situations involving a large number of people and were involved in the fewest activities. In addition, Wagner, Newman, Cameto, Garza, and Levine (2005), using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2, 2003a), found that the lack of social skills among out-of-school youths was one of the most problematic areas across all disability groups. Although more out-of-school youths with visual impairments were rated by their parents as high in the area of social skills compared to those of other disability groups, this percentage was still relatively low (37%). An additional 11% were rated as having low social skills, and the bulk of out-of-school youths with visual impairments were rated at a moderate level.

Providing improved support or interventions for the development of social skills among students with visual impairments necessitates an understanding of the factors that may contribute or relate to these skills. Research on such factors has been limited, however. A case study by George and Duquette (2006) of an individual student with low vision suggested that factors leading to the student's social proficiency included meeting people through extracurricular activities, exhibiting high self-advocacy and efficacy skills, spending time with other individuals with visual impairments, having a supportive familial structure, and being strong academically. In an ethnographic study, Sacks and Wolffe (1998) found that two of the three adolescents who were studied differed most in the amount of independent travel they did compared to their sighted peers. These two adolescents were less encouraged to travel on their own and to socialize after school, suggesting that orientation and mobility (O&M) may be a contributing factor to their levels of socialization. In addition, McBroom (1997) interviewed 102 successful college students with visual impairments. He found that 67% of these students participated in extracurricular activities and stated that O&M skills, access to transportation, having contact with peers, being assertive and independent, and being involved in activities contributed to their social success.

In contrast, the overprotection of individuals by family members or service providers could contribute to the underdevelopment of social skills that are necessary for independence after high school (McBroom, Tedder, & Kang, 1991, cited in McBroom, 1997). Concern has been expressed, for example, that the constant proximity of paraeducators to students with visual impairments may lead to the students' learned helplessness, creating increased dependence on adults and decreasing interactions with peers (Ferrell, 2007; Giangreco, Edelman, Broer, & Doyle, 2001; Giangreco, Edelman, Luiselli, & MacFarland, 1997; Malmgren & Causton-Theoharis, 2006). It may be argued, however, that the presence of a paraeducator could also support students' interactions with peers or reinforce their use of social skills if interventions are set up properly.

A continued understanding of the various factors that may contribute to social proficiency would help confirm the efforts needed to work with youths effectively before they make the transition to the adult world. Use of the NLTS2 data is one means by which to explore related variables empirically with a representative sample. This data set contains hundreds of variables with data collected from students with disabilities, parents, teachers, and schools. The data set provides the potential for posing and analyzing a wide range of questions regarding youths with disabilities and their transition to adulthood. The study presented here used the NLTS2 data set to explore six research questions related to youths with visual impairments and possible related factors to social skills ability. On the basis of the research we reviewed that suggested some possible factors, the following questions were posed:

1. Do youths with visual impairments differ in social skill levels from youths with other specified disabilities?

2. Among youths with visual impairments, is the receipt of O&M services related to differences in social skills?

3. Among youths with visual impairments, is the assistance of an in-class paraeducator related to differences in social skills?

4. Among youths with visual impairments, is participation in extracurricular activities related to differences in social skills?

5. Among youths with visual impairments, is participation in a paid work activity related to differences in social skills?

6. Among youths with visual impairments, is the age of onset of the visual impairment related to differences in social skills?

Although the study presented here used variables from the same data set as the report prepared by Wagner and colleagues (2005), we expanded on the report by using a larger sample of youths with visual impairments (not just out-of-school youths) to compare these youths' SSRS social skill scores with those of youths with other disabilities, and used this larger sample of youths with visual impairments to look specifically at factors that may be related to social skill levels, an aspect not covered in the Wagner report.

Method

INSTRUMENTATION AND DATA

NLTS2 is a large, nationally representative data set that describes the characteristics and experiences of secondary school special education students in the United States. The NLTS2 data set is organized by data collection periods, or waves of data, with each wave collecting similar data for students each year. This study used Wave 1 of the NLTS2 data set because of the larger number of youths with visual impairments (unweighted n = 686) studied in it, as compared with Wave 2 (n = 519) and Wave 3 (n = 450). Wave 4 was not yet available at the time of the study. The collection of the Wave 1 data was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Educational Sciences and contains responses pertaining to more than 9,000 students who were aged 13 to 16 on December 1, 2000. All the variables used in this study were from those collected by NLTS2. No additional data collection was conducted.

In particular, we used the disability status provided in the children's school information, item responses from the parent interview portion of the NLTS2, and youths' scores on the SSRS Parent Form (Gresham & Elliott, 1990) for youths with visual impairments. In addition, we used information from the data set for youths in Wave 1 in the following disability categories other than visual impairment to investigate research question 1: learning disability, speech impairment, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, heating impairment, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, autism, and traumatic brain injury. A child's disability status was determined from the roster of students in each school and specifically by determining whether the child had received special education services within the year and what his or her primary disability was, as designated by the student's school or district.

NLTS2 used stratified cluster random sampling to collect data from the parents' interviews, obtained the data via telephone interviews (except for parents who could not be reached by telephone, who were asked to complete a mailed questionnaire), and obtained a child's disability status from the school records. The response rate for the parents' interviews was 91.0%. Responses from a total of 8,138 parents or guardians were considered for this study. Table 1 shows the frequency distribution by disability category, including the original (unweighted) sample sizes and the weighted population estimates (incorporating the sampling weights that were derived by the NLTS2). The developers of the data set recommend weighting the cases because particular subpopulations of children (such as those with visual impairments) were oversampled, and the use of the weights provides for accurate estimates of parameters.

In addition to items from the parents' interviews, scores related to youths were used from sets of items drawn from the SSRS Parent Form (Gresham & Elliott, 1990), a parent-completed measure of a youth's social behavior. Scores were available on three domains--Social Self-control, Social Assertion, and Social Cooperation--as well as a composite score based on all three domains.

PROCEDURE

Research question 1

To evaluate research question 1, we compared mean scores for youths from each of the specified disability categories on each of the three domains of the SSRS (Social Assertion, Social Self-control, and Social Cooperation). The SSRS consisted of 11 items pertaining to a child's specific social skills (see Box 1). For each item, the parent being interviewed was asked to indicate how often his or her child demonstrated the indicated social skill (0 = never, 1 = sometimes, or 2 = very often). Scores for the subscales could range from 0 to 8 for the Social Assertion and Social Self-control subscales (with scores of 0-3 = low ability, 4-6 = medium ability, and 7-8 = high ability). Scores from the Social Cooperation subscale could range from 0 to 6 (with 0-3 = low ability, 4 = moderate ability, and 5-6 = high ability). A composite SSRS score was obtained by summing the scores from the three subscales. Scores on the composite scale could range from 0 to 22 (with 0-10 = low ability, 11-16 = medium ability, 17-22 = high ability). Reliability indexes (coefficient alpha) for scores on the subscales were calculated and were alpha = .69, .56, and .48 for the Social Assertion, Social Self-control, and Social Cooperation subscales, respectively. The reliability of the scores on the composite SSRS was alpha = .70.

To account for the complex sampling design (designs that are not simple random samples), the provided sampling weights were incorporated into the analyses (as well as all subsequent analyses), and standard errors were adjusted using the estimated design effects. Pairwise contrasts were constructed using the adjusted Wald F statistic that compared the scores of youths with visual impairments to those of youths with each of the other specified disabilities, controlling for a child's age, secondary disability status, and household income level. The Wald F statistic is appropriate for tests of mean differences in complex samples (Korn & Graubard, 1990). Error degrees of freedom were computed as the number of primary sampling units minus the number of strata in the data (see Korn & Graubard, 1999), and Sidak correction was used to maintain a family-wise error rate of .05. The Sidak correction thus reduces the probability of mistakenly concluding that mean differences are evident compared to uncorrected tests, while providing more power than more conservative correction procedures (such as Bonferroni corrections).

Research questions 2 to 6

Research questions 2 to 6 concerned specific factors that may be related to social skills among youths with visual impairments. To address these questions, we considered only those youths (unweighted n = 686, weighted n = 40) who were reported by their school districts in NLTS2 Wave 1 data as being visually impaired (youths who were deaf and blind were excluded from these analyses). The developers of NLTS2 defined visual impairment as "an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance.

The term includes both partial sight and blindness" (NLTS2, 2003b, p. 15) Once again, scores on each of the three domains of SSRS (as well as the composite SSRS score) served as the dependent variable for each analysis, and pairwise contrasts were carried out. The child's age, secondary disability status, and household income level were used as control variables.

Results

RESEARCH QUESTION 1

Research question 1 asked whether youths with visual impairments differ from youths with other specified disabilities in social skills as measured by the SSRS. Table 2 presents descriptive statistics for each of the four SSRS outcome measures (Social Self-control, Social Assertion, Social Cooperation, and the Social Skills composite score) by disability category.

When we considered the outcome of Social Self-control, we found that pairwise contrasts indicated that youths with visual impairments showed significantly higher scores than did youths with learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, other health impairments, and autism (p < .01), as well as traumatic brain injuries (p < .05). The scores of youths with visual impairments were not significantly lower than those of youths with any other disability on this measure. For the Social Assertion outcome measure, youths with visual impairments had significantly higher scores than did youths with autism (p < .01). The scores of youths with visual impairments were not significantly lower than those of youths with any other disability on this measure. For the Social Cooperation measure, youths with visual impairments had significantly higher scores than did youths with learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, other health impairments, autism, or traumatic brain injuries (all p < .01), as well as youths with orthopedic impairments (p < .05). Finally, when we compared the composite Social Skills scores of youths with visual impairments to the other disability categories, simple contrasts showed that these youths had significantly higher scores than did youths with learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, other health impairments, autism, or traumatic brain injuries (all p < .01). Table 3 presents the results for these pairwise contrasts. These results paralleled the findings of Wagner et al. (2005), who compared a smaller sample of (out-of-school) youths with disabilities on the same measure using a different wave of data than we used in our study.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS 2 TO 6

Research questions 2 to 6 investigated specific factors that may be related to social skills among youths with visual impairments. Table 4 presents descriptive statistics for these youths by the receipt of O&M services, the school district's provision of a personal assistant or an in-class paraeducator, participation in extracurricular activities, participation in any paid work activities, and age of onset of the disability.

When we compared youths with visual impairments who received O&M services from the school district to their peers who did not receive such services, no significant differences were evident on any of the social skills measures. Similarly, when we compared youths with visual impairments who received assistance from a personal assistant or in-class paraeducator (provided by the school district) to their peers who did not receive such assistance, no significant differences in their Social Skills composite scores on SSRS were evident. When we compared youths who participated in extracurricular activities to those who did not participate, however, those who participated had significantly higher social skills scores on all four measures (Social Self-control at p < .05, and Social Assertion, Social Cooperation, and the Social Skills composite score at p < .01). Similarly, when we compared youths with visual impairments who participated in any paid work activity to those who did not, the former group had significantly higher scores on Social Assertion and on the Social Skills composite (both at p < .01) than did the latter group. No significant effect of work activity was evident, however, for the Social Self-control or Social Cooperation measures. Finally, youths whose visual impairments began before age 6 had significantly lower Social Assertion scores (at p < .01) than did their peers whose visual impairments occurred at a later age. Table 5 presents the results of these contrasts.

Discussion

LEVEL OF SOCIAL SKILLS

In relation to other disability categories, youths with visual impairments are socially equal to or more competent than youths in other disability categories on the basis of the SSRS scale categories reported by parents. Research question 1 expanded on what was reported by Wagner and colleagues (2005) by examining a broader age range of youths (not just those who were out of school, although some of the same out-of-school youths were included), a distinct wave of data, and an examination of subscale scores of the SSRS along with the composite SSRS scores. The results were similar to those found by Wagner and colleagues (2005) for out-of-school youths on the SSRS composite score. A similar pattern emerged on the subscale scores as on the composite score with the exception of Social Assertion, where youths with visual impairments only scored significantly higher than youths with autism. This finding is similar to that of Burhow and colleagues (1998), who found that elementary school students with visual impairments whose social assertion scores on the same SSRS scale were significantly lower than those of a normed sample. However, it is important to note that because of marginal or low reliability indexes (coefficient alpha) for the subscales of Social Assertion (alpha = .69), Social Self-control (alpha = .56), and Social Cooperation (alpha = .48), great care must be taken when interpreting results that are based on these particular subscale scores. Therefore, the remainder of the discussion focuses primarily on the composite score of the SSRS.

As with Wagner and colleagues' (2005) report, despite having equal or higher levels of social skills on the SSRS compared to those of other disability categories, the majority of youths with visual impairments in the study presented here were still rated as having only a moderate level of social skills overall. On the basis of this measure, it is worthwhile to continue to investigate factors that may contribute to the social skills success of youths with visual impairments. Also, the NLTS2 data set does not contain information that allows researchers to make comparisons with peers who do not have disabilities. Although it is not always prudent to make such a comparison, this additional comparison would add some insights into how youths with visual impairments are interacting relative to their same-age social network of peers.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

In research questions 2 to 6, some of the factors that are typically discussed as having a potential impact on social skills were investigated: O&M services, having a personal assistant or an in-class paraeducator, participation in extracurricular activities, participation in paid work activity, and the age of onset of a visual impairment. Comparing the composite scores of the SSRS for youths with visual impairments, the effects of participation in extracurricular activities and paid work experience were statistically significant. These results support prior discussions and research (see, for example, George & Duquette, 2006; McBroom, 1997) concerning the importance of involving youths with visual impairments in these activities.

It is perhaps surprising that the other factors we examined did not emerge as significant predictors of the composite Social Skills score. However, these factors should not be dismissed from further investigation. The purpose of the NLTS2 was to collect information across a wide range of variables for youths in all disability categories and to generate results that generalize accurately to the population of children with disabilities. The NLTS2 data set gives the field of visual impairment a unique opportunity for a large generalizable sample and a breadth of assessed variables that facilitate a wide range of possible research inquiries. However, these advantages are, of necessity, associated with some disadvantages. In particular, the depth of many of the measured outcomes in the NLTS2 is often shallow. The survey questions to parents regarding the receipt of O&M services, for example, as well as for the school's provision of a paraeducator, were simple yes-or-no questions. No additional information was available on the extent, type, or quality of services. In addition, this study used the SSRS rating scale for social skills collected by the NLTS2, which may not include the entire repertoire of skills that are necessary for scholastic or life success.

What the results do seem to indicate, however, is the importance of the involvement of youths with visual impairments in extracurricular and work activities and experiences. The causative direction of this relationship cannot be inferred. Good social skills may contribute to an increased likelihood of students being involved in extracurricular activities and paid work experiences, or participation in these activities may help support good social skills. Either way, involvement in such activities remains important, and families and teachers should continue to encourage successful participation in such activities.

LIMITATIONS

In addition to those already discussed, two additional cautions on the interpretation of the data presented here should be mentioned. Several of the variables used in the current study were based on parents' reports. The possibility remains of natural variability among parents in the way they may have interpreted the survey questions. The report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2002, p. 8), however, suggested that parents' reports may be a preferred source of data about children because "a parent may be the one informant who can describe findings from evaluations by health care providers and school personnel and also provide detailed information about a child's sociodemographic characteristics." In addition, parents' reports about their children's academic performance have been shown to be strongly related to teachers' reports on the same children (Schaefer & Edgerton, 1980) and to have equal predictive validity as adolescent-reported grades (Schuerger & Kuna, 1987).

Also, the school data in the NLTS2 database indicate only if a child has a visual impairment. This information limits a closer examination of factors that are based on the level of visual impairment (such as blindness or low vision).

Future studies

Because of their expansiveness, the NLTS2 data can be a resource for exploring a wide range of questions that concern the education of individuals with visual impairments. Subsequent studies to this one may use additional waves of data to investigate factors that are related to changes in the levels of social skills over time. In addition, more involved structural models may be posed to examine how a number of variables (including O&M, social skills, involvement in work or other activities, and academic skills) simultaneously relate to one another. Furthermore, recognizing that the NLTS2 database also has drawbacks, significant findings could serve as a jumping-off point to focus more in-depth investigations through other methodologies that will provide practitioners with additional information from which to work.

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Kim T. Zebehazy, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada; e-mail: . Thomas J. Smith, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Educational Technology, Research, and Assessment, College of Education, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL 60115; e-mail: .
Box 1

Items from the Social Skills Rating System

Frequency with which the child:

* joins groups without being told

* makes friends easily

* ends disagreements with a respondent
calmly

* seems confident in social situations

* avoids situations that are likely to result
in trouble

* starts conversations rather than waiting
for others to start

* receives criticism well

* controls his or her temper when arguing
with other children

* keeps working at something until he or
she is finished

* speaks in an appropriate tone at home

* cooperates with family members without
being asked to do so


Table 1
Frequency distribution of youths with school-reported disabilities.

                                        Weighted    Percentage
                          Unweighted   population   (weighted)
Disability                 frequency    estimate

Visual impairment             686            9,944       0.5
Learning disability           884        1,298,158      63.2
Speech impairment             871           82,816       4.0
Mental retardation            865          255,683      12.5
Emotional disturbance         836          239,088      11.6
Hearing impairment            865           26,826       1.3
Orthopedic impairment         913           24,309       1.2
Other health impairment       922           96,215       4.7
Autism                        922           14,366       0.7
Traumatic brain injury        374            5,978       0.3
Total                        8,138       2,053,383     100.0

Table 2
Descriptive statistics for social outcome measures, by disability
status.

                             Social        Social        Social
                          Self-control    Assertion    Cooperation

Disability status          M      SE      M      SE     M      SE

Visual impairment         5.36   0.10    5.07   0.11   4.56   0.07
Learning disability       4.77   0.07    5.30   0.12   3.95   0.05
Speech impairment         5.31   0.05    5.04   0.13   4.32   0.07
Mental retardation        4.81   0.08    4.79   0.09   3.91   0.06
Emotional disturbance     4.07   0.07    4.95   0.08   3.36   0.07
Hearing impairment        5.27   0.08    5.15   0.10   4.35   0.06
Orthopedic impairment     5.34   0.09    5.08   0.12   4.25   0.07
Other health impairment   4.52   0.08    5.10   0.08   3.60   0.06
Autism                    4.65   0.08    2.84   0.11   3.77   0.06
Traumatic brain injury    4.85   0.12    4.90   0.13   3.83   0.08

                          Social Skills
                           (composite)

Disability status          M      SE

Visual impairment         15.05  0.19
Learning disability       14.01  0.15
Speech impairment         14.67  0.16
Mental retardation        13.51  0.15
Emotional disturbance     12.37  0.16
Hearing impairment        14.78  0.16
Orthopedic impairment     14.67  0.18
Other health impairment   13.21  0.15
Autism                    11.29  0.16
Traumatic brain injury    13.58  0.24

Table 3
Comparisons of social outcomes measures for youths with visual
impairments and those of youths with other specified
disabilities.

                       Social                  Social
                    Self-control              Assertion

Contrast        Mean diff.   Wald F      Mean diff.   Wald F

LD versus VI    -0.59         24.94 **    0.22          2.23
SI versus VI    -0.05          0.20      -0.04          0.04
MR versus VI    -0.55         19.68 **   -0.29          4.06
ED versus VI    -1.30        107.45 **   -0.13          0.77
HI versus VI    -0.10          0.61       0.08          0.29
01 versus VI    -0.02          0.04       0.00          0.00
OHI versus VI   -0.84         44.95 **    0.02          0.03
AUT versus VI   -0.71         34.77 **   -2.23        235.52 **
TBI versus VI   -0.51         10.42 *    -0.17          0.93

                      Social                Social Skills
                    Cooperation              (composite)

Contrast        Mean diff.   Wald F      Mean diff.   Wald F

LD versus VI    -0.61         49.04 **   -1.04         17.21 **
SI versus VI    -0.24          6.67      -0.38          2.01
MR versus VI    -0.65         49.32 **   -1.53         38.29 **
ED versus VI    -1.20        136.59 **   -2.68        107.14 **
HI versus VI    -0.21          5.31      -0.27          1.26
01 versus VI    -0.31         10.22 *    -0.38          2.46
OHI versus VI   -0.96        109.47 **   -1.84         55.61 **
AUT versus VI   -0.79         74.30 **   -3.75        223.75 **
TBI versus VI   -0.73         47.54 **   -1.47         21.99 **

Note: LD = learning disability, SI = speech impairment, MR =
mental retardation, ED = emotional dis turbance, HI = hearing
impairment, OI = orthopedic impairment, OH] = other health
impairment, AUT = autism, TBI = traumatic brain injury, VI =
visual impairment. Error df = 433. * p < .05, ** .p < .01.

Table 4
Descriptive statistics on social outcome measures for youths with
visual impairments.

                                       Social         Social
                                    Self-control     Assertion

Variable                             M      SE      M      SE

Orientation and mobility services
  Yes                               5.60   0.12    5.08   0.16
  No                                5.22   0.16    5.03   0.17

Personal assistant or in-class
  paraeducator
  Yes                               5.39   0.12    5.14   0.18
  No                                5.44   0.15    4.99   0.14

Extracurricular activity
  Yes                               5.49   0.11    5.33   0.12
  No                                5.05   0.17    4.08   0.23

Any paid work activity
  Yes                               5.50   0.13    5.40   0.15
  No                                5.32   0.12    4.76   0.16

Age when first disabled
  Prior to age 6                    5.40   0.10    4.94   0.13
  Age 6 or later                    5.31   0.22    5.72   0.26

                                        Social    Social Skills
                                    Cooperation    (composite)

Variable                             M      SE     M      SE

Orientation and mobility services
  Yes                               4.69   0.08   15.41  0.26
  No                                4.47   0.11   14.83  0.31

Personal assistant or in-class
  paraeducator
  Yes                               4.55   0.10   15.30  0.29
  No                                4.53   0.09   14.92  0.29

Extracurricular activity
  Yes                               4.10   0.16   15.64  0.20
  No                                4.71   0.08   13.18  0.44

Any paid work activity
  Yes                               4.62   0.09   13.80  0.19
  No                                4.53   0.09   14.79  0.52

Age when first disabled
  Prior to age 6                    4.57   0.07   15.60  0.51
  Age 6 or later                    4.53   0.17   14.99  0.19

Table 5
Comparisons of social outcomes measures of youths with visual
impairments to other factors.

                               Social                 Social
                            Self-control             Assertion

Effect                   Mean diff.   Wald F   Mean diff.   Wald F

Orientation and          -0.38        3.06     -0.05         0.05
  mobility services

Personal assistant or
  in-class                0.05        0.07      0.16         0.54
  paraeducator
Extracurricular           0.44        5.41 *    1.25        23.97 **
  activities
Any paid work activity    0.18        1.47      0.64         7.87 **
Age when first            0.09        0.15     -0.79         7.35 **
  disabled

                                Social              Social Skills
                             Cooperation             (composite)

Effect                   Mean diff.   Wald F     Mean diff.   Wald F

Orientation and          -0.21         2.69      -0.58         1.74
  mobility services

Personal assistant or
  in-class                0.02         0.04       0.38         0.90
  paraeducator
Extracurricular           0.60        10.10 **    2.46        24.49 **
  activities
Any paid work activity    0.09         0.52       2.45        19.45 **
Age when first            0.04         0.04      -0.61         1.35
  disabled

Note: error of = 431.

* p <. 05, ** at p <. 01.
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