Rethinking Social Network Assessment for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) in Postsecondary Education
Social networks of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) have been characterized as smaller and less diverse than those of typical peers. Advocates have focused on strengthening those social networks by expanding circles of social support, protection, and friendship. As young adults with ID experience increasing levels of community integration and move into new postsecondary education environments, the nature and potential functions of their social networks may shift. We describe the development and use of a social network instrument that is intended to capture an expanded view of social networks as structures influencing career opportunities. Using data from participants in our college program for students with ID, we then describe and illustrate how social network analyses can be used to examine individuals’ social networks. Finally, we discuss lessons learned from our development process and implications for social network assessment and analysis with persons who have ID in postsecondary education.
Eisenman, L., Farley-Ripple E., Culnane, M., and Freedman, B. (2013) Rethinking Social Network Assessment for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) in Postsecondary Education. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 26 (4), pp. 367-384.