Dr Monika Bourmer

+49 (0)441 798-4459

A01 1-120


Research Programme

The aim of this doctoral programme is to investigate the development, education and participation of children with special educational needs and multiple risk burdens. Across different areas of special needs education questions will be addressed, focusing on children and adolescents at high risk for negative academic and psychosocial trajectories, including school absenteeism and dropout. These studies of the development, education, and participation of children with special educational needs and multiple risk burdens is based on an ecosystemic-oriented approach, guided by the WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), within the field of special and inclusive education. The interplay of various developmental domains, further influenced by factors in the individual's meso-, exo-, and macrosystems, will be explained through developmental psychopathological cascade models. This will enable the identification and description of special educational support needs to counteract/mitigate risks associated with negative academic and psychosocial trajectories, including school absenteeism and dropout.

Comorbidity of physical impairments and emotional and social needs in schools

The project examines the emotionality and behavior of children and adolescents with physical impairment from a bio-psycho-social perspective.

In context of physical impairment, psychological risk burdens are often caused by social interaction processes: With regard to students with physical impairments, caregivers may react to the unfamiliar appearance or unanticipated behaviors with uncertainty. This can lead to problems such as social isolation and behavioral problems (Leyendecker, 2004).

The aim of the planned study is to determine the prevalence of psychosocial risk burdens among children and adolecents with special educational needs in the area of physical development. In addition, effects of their participation in school-settings will be recorded. Based on a differentiated survey of the population and their school participation, prevention measures for children and adolescents with combined impairments of physical and emotional-social development will be derived.

Sample: children and adolescents with a physical impairment

Quantitative study design: non-experimental cross-sectional study

Participating researchers: Prof. Dr. Annett Thiele, Prof. Dr. Clemens Hillenbrand, Prof. Dr. Blanka Hartmann

Research fellow: Carolyn Lübbehusen

Developmental Language Disorders and Additional Impairments in the Areas of Social-Emotional and Motor Development. Acquisition of Forms and Manifestations as well as Impacts on Participation

Language is of central importance for children's school success, their coping with life and their participation (Chilla, 2017). Children with impairments in language acquisition without causal disorders in other developmental areas have developmental language disorders (DLD) (previously known as SLI) (Spreer et al., 2015). With an estimated prevalence of 5-8%, DLD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood (von Suchodoletz, 2014). In addition, there are often accompanying impairments in non-linguistic areas. For example, there are close correlations in the development of language and social-emotional skills (Yew & O'Kearney, 2013). Also, impairments in gross and fine motor skills occur frequently in children with DLD (Sanjeevan et al., 2015). The co-occurrence of developmental problems in these areas are accompanied by barriers to participation. However, research shows that the areas are rarely considered together. If at all, only two out of three combinations are investigated and there is a lack of data on combined impairments in primary school aged children with DLD. Therefore, the PhD project pursues the goal of collecting possible forms and manifestations of social-emotional and motor skills in children with DLD using standardized test procedures. Furthermore, barriers and support possibilities for the participation of children with DLD are collected by asking parents. The project enables a clearer understanding of combined impairments in children with DLD, which is practically important in order to intervene and advice purposefully and to strengthen possibilities for participation.

Participating researchers: Prof. Dr. Ulla Licandro, Prof. Dr. Karsten Speck, Prof. Dr. Annett Thiele, Prof. Dr. Anna-Maria Hintz

Research fellow: Katharina Kuhlmann

School Absenteeism among students on the Autism Spectrum

The dissertation project deals with reasons for the different forms of absenteeism in the inclusive school system among autistic students without intellectual impairment. In order to adequately and systematically map the current state of research, a systematic review of factors influencing school absenteeism among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be conducted.

Since there is an international research gap regarding the reasons influencing factors of school absenteeism in this group, a hypothesis-generating inductive approach is chosen in a next step and a qualitative study is conducted.

In order to involve the autistic children and adolescents in the discourse about them, the students themselves will be asked about their absenteeism through a problem-centered interview (Witzel & Reiter, 2022). This will focus on reasons and causes as well as possible precipitating and maintaining factors and the development of school absenteeism over time.

In addition, a quantitative survey using short questionnaires is in preparation. Here, the frequency of school absences among autistic students will be recorded purely descriptively by asking teachers, parents or therapists.

Participating researchers: Teresa Sansour, Tanja Jungmann, Andrea Erdélyi, Ute Koglin

Research fellow: Isabella Sasso

Cooperation of teachers, professionals and parents in reducing absenteeism of children with special educational needs

Multi-professional cooperation of different professional cultures and collaboration with parents has gained importance in the course of all-day and inclusive education (Hopmann & Lütje-Klose 2018; Speck 202; Hopmann et al. 2017; Kielblock Gaiser & Stecher 2017; Lütje-Klose 2014; Lütje-Klose & Urban 2014; Arndt & Gieschen 2013; Olk et al. 2011). However, a differentiated analysis of the complex cooperation structure among students with special educational needs is still missing. This is particularly relevant for students with special needs who are no longer in school.

Therefore, the dissertation project focuses on the analysis of a) the multiprofessional cooperation of teachers and professionals as well as b) the cooperation of teachers and professionals with parents of school-absent students with special needs in the areas of emotional-social development and learning. The qualitative dissertation project aims to conduct qualitative case studies and to analyze case-related triads (1. students, 2. parents, 3. teachers and professionals). The analysis is guided by approaches based on cooperation and professional theories. Case studies are collected and analyzed using person-environment analysis in combination with problem-centered interviews (Witzel, 1982) and grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin 1996). The dissertation project will provide insights and recommendations on multiprofessional cooperation and on the cooperation of teachers and professionals with parents.

Participating researchers: Karsten Speck, Heiner Ricking, Ulla Licandro, Gisela Schulze, Michael Feldhaus

Research Fellow: Lara Stauvermann

Assessment of social-emotional competencies of adolescents

Social-emotional competencies are crucial for children and youth to successfully cope with challenges while growing up. Especially adolescence is considered a critical phase as it is marked by various challenges for individuals’ development. Social-emotional competencies are an important resource to successfully cope with these challenges as they support self-regulation, goal-oriented behavior, and the maintenance of positive relationships with parents and peers, for example. This in turn is associated with positive short- and long-term outcomes like academic and professional success.
While the importance of these competencies in the adolescent development is widely acknowledged, academic research is lacking a holistic assessment tool that covers the entire construct rather than one-dimensional aspects.Therefore, this project aims to construct a psychometric assessment tool for social-emotional competencies of adolescents in German language which can be used in school settings. In the context of the inclusive school system this is of particular relevance as it allows to measure social-emotional competencies in a differentiated manner and to support individuals’ development in this regard.

Participating researchers: Ute von Düring, Dietmar Grube & Ulrike Krause

Research Fellow: Anne-Marie Brüggemann

(Changed: 26 Oct 2023)  | 
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