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I  feel that there are many ways for persons who are differently abled to  enjoy deep and meaningful friendships. I think you must understand that  persons who are differently abled still require the same attributes and  needs as those who are not. Hutchison’s research points out that some of  the reasons why people with handicaps need or desire friendships are  similar to those we all share, such as for intimacy, affection, and  companionship. (Hutchison, 1990, p. 3) Furthermore, Ward (2010) agreed  “that friendship and positive relationships are an important part of our  lives and that it is a truism that people have a basic need to be  valued, liked and respected by others, and to experience warm,  reciprocal relationships” (p. 1). The real question we should be  considering are how do people help facilitate and deep and meaningful  relationships for people who are differently abled? By reading this  week’s assignments I believe education and ensuring children and  teachers understand that although we are not all created the same we all  have those basic desires of friendship. By educating children to the  challenges that differently abled persons face we can help develop a  generation of human’s who have a better understanding and desire to  develop deeper friendships which differently abled people when otherwise  they may not. Of course this comes with challenges, factors such as the  nature of one’s disability, the stigmatization surrounding their  disability are just a few of these challenges. (Ward, 2010, p. 1)  Additionally, according to Hutchison (2010) “Low expectations of family  and professionals regarding the person's need, interest or ability to  have friends, especially non-disabled persons, make it difficult for  friendships to develop” (p. 2).

When considering any special circumstances for having friendships  with differently abled persons, I believe you have to have patience and  understanding. You have to understand that you are not a caregiver by a  friend, you want them to view you as such and in turn you want to view  them as such. In the video, you saw how a young boy was able to increase  his confidence around strangers based on the connection he made with  his dog. (McIver, 2014) I think the same could hold true in a person to  person friendship. I have had many friendships with differently abled  persons, from my childhood a young boy suffered from several physical  disabilities. My mother sat me down and educated me on his limitations.  Have this understanding allowed me to see through his physical  limitations and see him for the person he was. His physical disability  didn’t define who he was and I did not let it define the friendship we  shared. Much like the child in the video, he did not let his limitations  physically limit him from sharing who he was with his pet, which led  him to sharing his story with the world, both the story of who he is and  the story of dog. (McIver, 2014)  This was a tough topic for me to  discuss. I have family members who a differently abled, I serve with  fellow Soldiers who have children that are differently abled, there is a  systematic breakdown in how we include differently abled persons into  social society. It’s not enough to work to change and break down these  indifference’s at home or in our communities, the real changes must be  in the school settings where differently able persons spend many hours  of their lives. Ward (2010) sums it up well “All the students valued  their friendships; friendships were important in their lives. Their  stories highlighted and endorsed the six frames of friendships and also  identified a number of contextual factors in their schools that  supported and/or created barriers to facilitating positive social  interactions and relationships” (p. 4).

 REF:

Hutchison, P. (1990). “A qualitative study of the friendships of  people with disabilities.” Ontario: Ontario Research Council on Leisure.  [PDF, File Size 54.5 KB] Retrieved from  http://docplayer.net/41736962-A-qualitative-study-of-the-friendships-of-people-with-disabilities.htm

Ward, A. (2010). “When they don’t have to sit there they don’t.  They’ll go and sit somewhere else.” Students with disabilities talk  about barriers to friendship. Kairaranga, 11(1), 22-28. [PDF, File Size  116.66 KB] Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ925403

McIver, J. (2014, February 12). A Boy and His Dog. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIXoYHYEnkg

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