Friends: Connecting People with Disabilities and Community Members (A Manual for Families)
This manual is intended for family members of older children — those of transition age in the last few years of school or those of adult age who live at home. It is also for family members who have an adult child living in a group home or on their own. Families of younger school-age children will also find many useful ideas here that can be applied in school or other situations for younger children. There are tips and activities. Worksheets are used.
The lessons contained in this manual have primarily been learned from supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, but also have been utilized to support relationships for individuals with other disabilities, such as autism, physical disabilities, or mental health issues. Much of the learning has gone on with individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including many individuals who have been seen as quite challenging, such as those who don’t use words to communicate, those who have challenging behaviors, or those about whom people said they wouldn’t or couldn’t be friends with community members. Much of the material has also been developed by listening and learning from others who are engaged in this work of having communities that value and include a wide variety of individuals, and from whom I continue to learn.