Social Inclusion for Children with Developmental Disabilities

This week, I received a notice, asking me if I would participate in a research study being done by a local university on the social inclusion of children with developmental disabilities. It states that the university is:

looking for participants (parents & guardians) to complete an online study about the social inclusion of preschool and early school aged children with and without developmental disabilities.

They describe social inclusion as follows:

Social inclusion is a complex concept referring not only to a place, but also a process whereby children with developmental delays and disabilities have opportunities to participate with peers in social, recreational, and educational settings.

The link is found here.

This really got me thinking about the social life of my child with developmental disabilities. What constitutes a peer? All of our children have their own unique blend of ‘difference’. My daughter acts like a typical three year-old even though she’s 5 1/2.

While my two older children are constantly over at a friend’s house or having a friend over, my youngest never seems to get that opportunity. I know that it’s not just because most of our friends only have two children the ages of our older children, and not just because I went back to work when I could have been hosting playdates for Precious like I did for my other two, but it’s also because she is developmentally younger than her real age. She had never asked to play at a friend’s house until today when we were dropping off my older daughter at her friend’s. I asked Precious which friend she would like to play with and she couldn’t think of any names because she doesn’t seem to have any friends yet.

I took Precious to my friend’s house this morning. Precious immediately started playing with their 4 year-old and they had a fantastic time. They kept themselves busy for an hour and a half without parental intervention. It was really nice for her and for me.

I noticed that Precious often plays with the junior kindergarteners at daycare and I think I’m going to need to help her out a little by trying to meet the other parents there and also in the neighbourhood, at piano, swimming and gymnastics. I’ll focus on the 4 year-old and since she’s developmentally too young to make friends on her own, I’ll help her.

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