logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Autism Spectrum Disorders: 4:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Children with Special Needs Site

BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

g

Loneliness and Friendship in High School


Recently I have read a few parent concerns about their sons and daughters with Down syndrome or other disabilities being isolated, lonely and friendless in their high school years following socially and academically successful years in inclusive classrooms from kindergarten on up. They may have heard persuasive arguments from administrators about segregated placements in distant schools where life skills and vocational training opportunities are described in glowing terms. It has been my experience that mainstream high schools offer a more diverse set of options for all students than any school year since kindergarten.

It is not a well-kept secret that high school can be a lonely experience for many students, even those who have several friends to sit with at lunch and to spend time with outside of school. Those with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities who are included in mainstream classrooms from kindergarten or preschool through graduation have the same struggles as their peers, often with additional challenges related more to low expectations, inadequate support, or fewer opportunities than to disability.

Students with Down syndrome and their mainstream classmates are fortunate to have continue their relationships in high school because there are so many obstacles in the path of every teenager in school. They may all find unsympathetic administrators, school policies with no exceptions, family and relationship problems to be nearly insurmountable obstacles.

Most high schools who are receptive to Circles of Friends clubs report significant benefits for all students involved. Some families are frustrated when they seek permission from their principal or school board due to the perception that peer support groups are helpful only for students with disabilities and too much responsibility is put on mainstream participants. Occasionally, other parents of students with IEPs voice concerns about their son or daughter participating that persuade administrators to decline permission for the program.

Often, parents of mainstream students are more enthusiastic about their teens committing to a peer support program for students with developmental disabilities because aside from providing a positive source of activities, they want their children to understand and live up to their own potential. Students who have grown up in inclusive classrooms understand it means as much if not more to them as it does for a classmate with Down syndrome.

It breaks my heart when I hear of teens who feel so lonely and unnoticed that school is miserable for them; and it is even more tragic for those who are bullied for their own differences and so demoralized that they take their own lives without finding out that life can be better and does get so much better after school. When diversity, acceptance, friendship and inclusion are discussed openly in inclusive classrooms and peer buddy programs, every child and teen can hear the positive message and find a way to express their own individuality.

Students in inclusive classrooms and those who participate in groups like Circles of Friends learn how to support one another and to accept the support and friendship of others. Students with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities have the potential to be supportive, encouraging advisors and friends just like their mainstream peers.

Browse at your public library, local bookstore or online retailer for books like: How to Make & Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges or Person Centered Planning.

One last hoorah - Leavenworth, KS - The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth football’s First Downs for Down Syndrome program.
http://www.leavenworthtimes.com/article/20121025/SPORTS/121029314
Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Twitter Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Facebook Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to MySpace Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Del.icio.us Digg Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Yahoo My Web Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Google Bookmarks Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Stumbleupon Add Loneliness+and+Friendship+in+High+School to Reddit



 



Friendship, Inclusion and Childhood Disability
Inclusion Benefits Classmates
Encouraging Friendship - Childhood Disabilities
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map




For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Children with Special Needs Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Pamela Wilson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Pamela Wilson for details.

g


g features
Teething Babies with Down Syndrome

Medication for Behavioral Issues - Down Syndrome

Babies with Developmental Delays

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor