In the research project by Peggy Hutchinson it was, not surprisingly, found that differently abled people have the same desire for social interactions as the people around them; such as “intimacy, affection, and companionship. Others, however, were more unique or important to people with handicaps because of their vulnerability, such as having less reliance on services and family, advocacy, and greater chance of having a normal life” (Hutchison, 1990).
I think the ways that differently abled people are able to enjoy deep and meaningful friendships are actually quite similar to those outside the community. Being a high school teacher, I see friendships blossom for both sides of this discussion in a lot of similar ways and it starts with putting themselves out there, being social, meeting people but as Sam, Adam, and Gemma discussed, there are times that just the act of getting out there and being social can be short circuited by classmates whom lack basic social skills and find a way to further isolate them, not only from the bullies but from the other classmates too. In my opinion, this is almost the worst kind of bullying because it involves a child whom already had a sense of not belonging, not fitting in, and being “different” in an atmosphere that doesn’t embrace diversity. (Ward, 2010)
When you have a differently abled friend, the special considerations that enable or prevent social interaction are different for each person, for the friends of a wheelchair bound friend, you have to remember that not everywhere has ramps or the accessibility features necessary for them to be able to socialize, in the classroom there are barriers with the layout and the mindset that the desk beside the differently abled student was to be left for the EA, even if the EA was not with the student, this caused the other students to potentially exclude that student because there is a perceived “bubble” around them that you would not be able to occupy. Some classroom layouts were designed many years ago and do not allow the student in a wheelchair to move freely about the classroom. (Ward, 2010) In the film A boy and his dog, Orin is able to overcome some of the isolation from kids and adults with his service animal because it gave them something to break the ice and get to know more about Orin and break down some of the social barriers. I feel like this would be something that could help more differently abled students. (McIver, 2014)
McIver, J. (Director). (2014). A boy and his dog [Motion P
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