School-Age and Post-Secondary

The Development of Friendships in Youth with Disabilities


The purpose of this project was to better understand friendships for children with disabilities. This project investigated the number of friends a child has and developed an understanding of how family-orchestrated activities alter/affect the social outcomes associated with students with disabilities who attend inclusive versus segregated classrooms. Center staff conducted a study to learn about the social connectedness and friendships of students in grades K-6, and compared the experiences of youngsters whose school placements are largely inclusive to others in the same school district whose placements are largely segregated. Parents of students with disabilities in grades K-6 in the state of Connecticut were eligible to participate. Elementary and middle schools, as well as other agencies such as the Down Syndrome Network, were contacted in order to email their respective listservs or distribute information to parents who were willing to participate. The survey was available primarily online with a paper alternative.


  • A study was conducted with parents of children with disabilities in grades K - 6.
  • Findings were analyzed and results were disseminated.