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ERIC Number: EJ920095
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0040-0599
International Friendships for Students with Special Needs: Harnessing Technology to Bridge an Ocean
O'Rourke, Susan L.; Martin, Marie; Brown, Lisa; Bauer, William; Dobbins, Michael; Schaeffer, Alice; Cartin, Donna; Pollard, Carol; Byrne, Daniel
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v43 n4 p8-15 Mar-Apr 2011
Adolescents with multiple or severe disabilities often lack access to opportunities available to their typically developing peers, whose in-school friendships are often reinforced through other out-of-school, and sometimes interschool, activities. Limitations to these opportunities can be a result of attending a separate school designed to provide the specialized education needed in order for students with severe disabilities to be successful in life. Consequently, the very nature of the specialized school may create a barrier to the development of peer relationships beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Given the extensive medical needs of this population, creating opportunities for students to participate in typical adolescent activities (e.g., making friends and participating in social groups both within and beyond the classroom) is challenging. Although families are essential in providing these opportunities, typically developing adolescents manage this independently; students with disabilities benefit from a coordinated approach. This article describes a project that used technology to bring together adolescents with multiple or severe disabilities living in Northern Ireland and the United States. Through the combined efforts of educators in Northern Ireland and the United States, together with highly motivated students eager to learn and interact with their peers across the ocean, a successful learning environment was created in which teacher goals of improving communication and technology skills were exceeded and international friendships enriched student lives. (Contains 2 tables.)
Council for Exceptional Children. 1110 North Glebe Road Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201. Tel: 888-232-7733; Fax: 703-264-9494; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland); United States