Children with special needs in the everyday interaction of early childhood education

An article based on the Progressive Feedback data has been published in the European Journal of Special Needs Education. In the research, the most common reason why children had a need for support in ECEC was difficulties related to self-regulation. Effective self-regulation is fundamental to an individual’s functioning and early childhood is an important period for the development of self-regulation. Professionals working in ECEC are responsible for supporting children in situations in which self-regulation skills are needed. Our results were in line with studies indicating that children with low self-regulation skills are at increased risk of being left outside joint play. This result is worrying because joint play supports the development of self-regulation skills while solitary play does not have that effect. This means that the very children who need to practice their self-regulation skills are missing a potential opportunity to do that. Children prefer prosocial peers and neglect antisocial peers, which makes establishing friendships even more difficult if the child already has difficulties in forming peer relationships and does not have the skills to act in situations that require social skills. Being left outside causes negative feelings towards peers and negative feelings may cause antisocial behaviour or vice versa. This may cause a vicious circle that is difficult to break. Therefore, early intervention is essential. Click the link to read the article:

Kuutti, T., Sajaniemi, N., Björn, P., Heiskanen, N. & Reunamo, J. (2021). Participation, involvement and peer relationships in children with special educational needs in early childhood education. European Journal of Special Needs Education. Available at

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