Characteristics of the Closest Relationships Between Children With Developmental Disabilities and Peers in Inclusive Settings

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Webster, AA
Carter, M
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2010
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Inclusive education has become more common in schools, and children with developmental disabilities have had greater opportunities to interact, and hopefully establish relationships with their typically developing peers. While the quality of friendships between typically developing children has been examined in detail, relatively little comparable data is available on children with developmental disabilities. The current study provided an examination of the characteristics of the closest relationships between children with developmental disabilities and peers in inclusive school settings. Twenty-five children with developmental disabilities aged between approximately 5 and 12 years participated. Using an interview instrument, the relationships of these children with 74 peers were examined across six dimensions. Overall, dyads were found to be high in Validation and Caring as well as Help and Guidance, followed by slightly lower levels of Companionship. Intimate Exchange was reported to be lower. Conflict among dyads was also low, and Conflict Resolution was reported to be high when problems did occur. There was a clear differentiation between the highest- and lowest-ranked dyads for children with a disability. Overall, the features of the relationships between children with disabilities and their highest-ranked peer appeared similar in nature to those previously reported between typically developing peers.

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Australasian Journal of Special Education
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34
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1
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Specialist studies in education
Special education and disability
Other Education
Cognitive and computational psychology
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