ERIC Number: EJ775207
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: N/A
"Does This Child Have a Friend?"
Harrison, Mary M.
Teaching Tolerance, n32 p26-31 Fall 2007
Social isolation and the harassment of students with disabilities are closely related problems that occur in schools throughout the country. Often, both problems begin in middle school. Social isolation and harassment can feed each other--without meaningful interaction with students with disabilities, other students are more likely to make hurtful remarks based on stereotypes. In return, faced with the threat of being teased, students with disabilities are less likely to assert themselves. Without deliberate interventions, the cycle can be never-ending--sometimes with extreme personal and academic consequences. If not addressed, social isolation can deprive students of important social skills needed for post-secondary school, jobs and happy lives--skills most other students pick up naturally as they enjoy give-and-take with peers. And harassment and loneliness undoubtedly contribute to a dropout rate that is double that of students without disabilities. In this article, the author talks about how innovative social inclusion programs are reducing the social isolation of students with disabilities, ending harassment and stereotyping, and improving life opportunities. The author also highlights some inclusion programs including Gym Friends at Palmetto Middle School in Williamston, South Carolina.
Descriptors: Disabilities, Social Isolation, Dropout Rate, Attitudes toward Disabilities, Inclusive Schools, Friendship, Middle School Students, Interaction, Peer Relationship, Peer Acceptance, Interpersonal Competence, Program Effectiveness, Student Attitudes
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site: http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina