Social relationships and friendships of children with developmental disabilities: Implications for inclusive settings. A systematic review

Amanda A. Webster*, Mark Carter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The engagement of children with developmental disabilities (DD) in social relationships with typically developing peers has become increasingly important as inclusive practices have become more the norm than the exception. This paper provides an overview of the research on social relationships between these two groups. Method: Studies were included if they provided a naturalistic examination of the relationships between children with DD (from the age of 3 years to school exit) and peers they have met in school or in age-appropriate educational settings. Results: A total of 36 studies are reviewed, providing a framework for analysis of the relevant research, with a particular focus on implications for inclusive settings. Three specific areas are addressed: (a) features of social relationships; (b) types of social relationships and roles assumed by the individuals involved; and (c) the existence and nature of friendship within these relationships. Conclusion: Research on relationships between children with DD and their peers in inclusive settings is patchy, limited in context, and non-linear in its development. Directions for future research are discussed, together with a range of methodological issues that should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

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