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Contributions of Incidental Teaching, Developmental Quotient, and Peer Interactions to Child Engagement

Casey, Amy M. PhD; McWilliam, R. A. PhD; Sims, Jessica MEd

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e31824cbac4
Original Study

The purpose of the analysis reported in this article was to determine to what extent child and classroom characteristics were associated with the amount of time children with disabilities spent displaying each of 5 categories of engagement. Predictors consisted of children's receipt of incidental teaching, developmental quotient, and quality of peer interactions. Data were compiled from repeated observations of 61 preschoolers with disabilities who attended 31 early childhood classrooms. All regression analyses showed noteworthy effects: Although the model accounted for the most variance when predicting the most extreme forms of engagement, time spent in each of the 5 categories of engagement could be successfully predicted using the variables of interest. Developmental quotient and the quality of children's peer interactions accounted for a large percentage of the unique variance across engagement categories; incidental teaching was, however, a particularly strong predictor of the time children spent displaying sophisticated engagement.

The Center for Child and Family Research, Siskin Children's Institute, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Drs Casey and McWilliam); and Child Care Aware of Missouri, Eastern Region, St. Louis, Missouri (Ms Sims).

Correspondence: Amy M. Casey, PhD, Center for Child and Family Research, Siskin Children's Institute, 1101 Carter St, Chattanooga, TN 37402 (

The authors were at the Center for Child Development, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, at the time of data collection.

The work reported in this article was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (H324C040114). The manuscript preparation was partially supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (T32HD07226). No endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education or the National Institutes of Health should be assumed.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

©2012Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.