AHS-O2-2. Social and Emotional Content in High Quality Neurodiverse Picture Books
Faculty Mentor: Sophie Ladd, Ph.D.2
1College of Education, Department of Counselor Education School Psychology, and Human Services
2College of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Social and emotional competencies are important to support a lifelong development of positive regulatory behaviors, strong relationships, and responsible self-awareness. An ideal starting point for educating early cognitive, behavioral, and affective development is through read-aloud picture book experiences which are well-practiced activities in early childhood as parents often model positive interactions with books to instill confidence in rising readers. Using a qualitative content analysis approach, a data set of Own Voice and Own Voice Adjacent picture books from differently abled writers, nominated and award-winning titles from the Schneider and Dolly Gray literature lists, and contemporary releases or read-alike titles were examined for high quality social and emotional content in both the text and illustrations. From the initial selection of 48 books, only 34 were analyzed for SEL competencies due to lack of depth as a picture book or poor depiction of disability. To promote trustworthiness in the analysis of picture books, the researchers used constant comparative analysis for inter-rater reliability of titles based on holistic reading experience criteria: presence of SEL competencies, synergy between the images and words, and humanistic disability representation. The inter-rater agreement percentage per category was 77% for exemplary, 57% for fair, and 75% for underdeveloped titles. Findings from this study show that the most prevalent competency was self-awareness (91%) and relationship skills (90%) while the least present competency was responsible decision-making (65%). Researchers identified 10 exceptional titles, which strongly incorporated one of the five SEL competencies, as noteworthy teaching material for educational professionals.