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The Power of Friendship

Tools For Inclusion


Originally published: 6/2011


Friendship is important for all of us! This includes people with and without disabilities. People often feel better and happier when they have friends. As part of a research project about the choices people with disabilities make about work, we interviewed 16 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). These people also chose family members and professional staff people for us to interview. We asked them how they made decisions about working and making friends.

In this article, we want to share what people with IDD, their family members, and professional staff said about friendships. We will explain how people with IDD described their friendships in both community jobs and sheltered workshops, and how this influenced their choices about working in the community. (Please see the glossary at the end of this document for key definitions.)

What these people said about friendships might be important to you! They told us about their experiences with friendships and work. How are your experiences similar or different? We've included questions for you after each section. There is space for you to write your answers. In the second part of this article, we will give you ideas about keeping your friendships as well as building new ones in the community. Here is what the group of individuals, family members and professionals said...

Friends are important no matter where you work!

Download the "The Power of Friendship" (PDF) to learn more and do the self-reflection exercises

Also available in unformatted MS Word