|dc.description.abstract||- 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'
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.||en_US