School integration and the friendships of youth with developmental disabilities
Sciberras, Juliann Marie.
MetadataShow full item record
- The present study was an investigation into the effect ofschool integration on the friendships ofyouth with developmental disabilities and their peers without disabilities. The youths, their parents, and their teachers provided insights into the youths' friendships. A qualitative paradigm was used in this research. The researcher guided the collection and analysis ofthe data with the phenomenologicallifeworld existentials of body, space, time, and human relation (Van Manen, 1990). Individual interviews were conducted with each youth, and group interviews were conducted with each triad (a youth, their parent(s), and their teacher) to discuss the youth's friendships and the supports necessary to facilitate the friendships. Through phenomenological analysis of the data, four thematic statements emerged: friendships are far from perfect, to have a friend you have to be a friend, parents as choreographers offriendship, and teachers as reluctant partners in friendship facilitation. Based on the results ofthis study, it was concluded that the development of friendships between youth with developmental disabilities and their peers without disabilities was happening in integrated school settings. However, it was also evident that the support ofteachers and parents alike were required to facilitate the development and maintenance ofsuch friendships. Recommendations for practice are discussed, including the need for active participation by the youth's parents in the facilitation offriendships, and the use ofa "circle offriends" to facilitate friendship development. Also discussed are the recommendations for further research, including the need for the youth's friends to be interviewed regarding their friendships with the youth with disabilities, and the need for researcher observation ofth~ friendships in action. Further research could also explore the role ofthe mother versus the father in facilitating friendships, and the role of recreation and leisure opportunities in the ,development offriendships.