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Disabled children's cognitive development in the early years

Samantha Parsons () and Lucinda Platt ()
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Samantha Parsons: Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education
Lucinda Platt: Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science

No 14-15, DoQSS Working Papers from Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London

Abstract: Disabled children are known to fare worse in terms of educational attainment during their school years, with subsequent consequences for their later transitions and adult outcomes. But despite the acknowledged importance of the early years in children's later outcomes, we know relatively little about when disabled children's educational problems emerge or how they develop in young childhood. In this paper, we use a nationally representative longitudinal survey of UK children to address the following questions: do disabled children in England have lower cognitive skills prior to school entry? How do educational attainment and cognitive skills develop over the early school years relative to their non-disabled peer group? What role do background and environmental factors play in accounting for patterns of disabled children's progress? Using multiple measures of educational and cognitive attainment, and controlling for a number of key child, family and environmental factors, we investigate educational progress across two measures of disability. We find that disabled children have poorer cognitive skills at age 3, and that this is not accounted for by differences in home context. We also find that they make less progress over the early years than their non-disabled peers with similar levels of cognitive skills. Our findings are robust to a series of alternative specifications. Implications are discussed.

Keywords: Disability; children; educational progress; Millennium Cohort Study; Special Educational Needs; Longstanding Limiting Illness; school; Key Stage 1; England (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I24 J13 J14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-10-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-hea and nep-neu
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