Friendships of Children with Deaf-Blindness: Parent Perspectives and Experiences.Report as inadecuate

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A survey of families of 54 children or adolescents with deaf-blindness examined parents' beliefs regarding issues of friendship for their children. The mean age of the children was 11.4 years. Approximately 65 percent of the children attended a special school and 35 percent attended a program within a regular school. Almost 75 percent were identified as having another disability such as mental retardation or physical disability. Parents were asked for their agreement/disagreement with 50 statements grouped within seven categories: (1) communication and sensory impairments; (2) independence and mobility; (3) community issues and concerns; (4) integrated versus self-contained programs; (5) similarities of friendship; (6) social network; and (7) having friends with disabilities. Preliminary results indicated that parents of children with deaf-blindness are concerned about issues of friendship. Parents were most concerned with the child's social network, communication and sensory abilities, and community issues. Other findings included: 74 percent of parents felt their child had fewer friends due to his/her deaf-blindness; 81 percent believed that moving to a new community would be harder for their family than other families; and 70 percent did not think their child would prefer as a best friend another person who is deaf-blind. (DB)

Descriptors: Adolescents, Children, Deaf Blind, Friendship, Interpersonal Relationship, Parent Attitudes, Peer Relationship, Social Integration, Social Networks, Surveys

Author: Sall, Nancy


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