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ERIC Number: EJ834294
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1710-2146
An Appreciative Inquiry into the Circle of Friends Program: The Benefits of Social Inclusion of Students with Disabilities
Calabrese, Raymond; Patterson, Jean; Liu, Fuchang; Goodvin, Sherry; Hummel, Crystal; Nance, Erica
International Journal of Whole Schooling, v4 n2 p20 Sep 2008
Social inclusion of students with disabilities into the school system is a primary goal for many educators as well as advocates for this population. One program that seeks to increase levels of social inclusion for students with disabilities is the Circle of Friends Program (COFP). Its purpose is to widen the social network of students with disabilities by linking them to the social network of general education students. A qualitative case study research design using an appreciative inquiry theoretical research perspective examined the efficacy of the COFP by focusing on the positive core experiences of the program's stakeholders--sponsors, mentors, and parents of children with disabilities and identifying benefits provided by the COFP to program participants. The unit of analysis included ten sponsors, eight mentors, and ten parents of children with disabilities who represented six schools within four school districts (one urban and three suburban) in a Midwestern state. There were four findings: (a) a reduction in the level of alienation among parents of children with disabilities; (b) participants, regardless of their COFP role, felt involvement was a transformative experience; (c) COFP provided ecological conditions for the social inclusion of students with disabilities; and (d) additional resources for the COFP may increase its sphere of influence. These findings indicated that a primary benefit of the COFP is to reframe the traditional stereotypes and myths regarding students with disabilities.
Whole Schooling Consortium. Available from: Concordia University College of Alberta. 7128 Ada Boulevard, Edmonton, AB T5B 4E4, Canada. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act