This presentation is appropriate for any audience just beginning to explore the importance and possibilities of friendships between people with and without disabilities. It is suitable for staff trainings, classroom work, webinars, and more. Content includes what we mean by “Friend”, the benefits of such friendships and the challenges to make these relationships happen.
Training for Parents
Parents often struggle with how to help their children with disabilities connect with their peers without disabilities. Parents themselves, Ingrid Flory & Brittany Altuna have created a PowerPoint and accompanying handouts to help parents be able to get their sons and daughters connected with others in deep and meaningful ways. We recommend this material for parents’ groups, members of Special Education PACs, chapters of MA Families Organizing for Change, Family Support Centers, Autism Support Centers and other interested groups or individuals. The material is available in English, Spanish & Russian.
Friends at School
This brief PowerPoint is meant as an introduction to strategies that can be used by teachers and parents to promote friendships between students with and without disabilities. It is pulled from information contained in our toolkit, “Making Friends With and Without Disabilities at School”. You can download this toolkit, free of charge, from our website at https://thearcofmass.org/friendship. The intended audience includes teachers, paraprofessionals and parents.
Friends at Work
This presentation will cover how to support people with disabilities to develop natural supports and friendships in their workplaces. The presentation follows the structure of the “Building Friendships at Work” toolkit. The audience for this presentation are job coaches, job developers, employment specialists, and supported employment managers. Any staff person who supports people with disabilities in their employment goals! This presentation will provide the audience with strategies to support people with disabilities to truly be a part of their workplace and connect with coworkers, both at work and outside of work.
Friends Where You Live
This presentation will provide general strategies for supporting friendships between people with and without disabilities in a variety of living situations. The presentation follows the structure of the “Making Friends where you live” toolkit. The audience for this presentation are families, direct support professionals, personal care attendants, shared living providers, in home nursing support staff, residential managers, case managers, and any associated person within a residential support team.
This presentation will provide the audience with strategies focused on how to support adults (18+) with disabilities to truly be a part of their communities and the benefits of connecting with other community members, outside of the human service circles. Participants of this workshop will understand the negative impacts of isolation and learn how to build community to foster connections and create opportunities for freely-given friendships wherever someone may live.
Friends in the Community
This training closely follows our “Making Friends in the Community Where You Play, Serve and Worship” toolkit (available to download for free at https://thearcofmass.org/friendship). The intended audiences include parents, family groups, Special Education PACs, Residential and Day Program staff. It provides lots of information related to the opportunities for friendships between people with and without disabilities that can be found through membership in recreation, civic, cultural and faith-based organizations that are located in everyone’s communities.
Note that the PowerPoint is quite long. We recommend that you divide the training into at least 2 sessions.
Friends in Recreation and Organizations
More recently we began putting some energy into how we could help community organizations—those places where so much of our “good lives” happen (including friendships!). You can download, free of charge, our toolkit “Building Friendships Between People With and Without Disabilities: A Toolkit for Community Recreation, Cultural and Faith Organizations” from https://thearcofmass.org/friendship. The intended audience for this toolkit is staff from community organizations, including municipal Park & Recreation Programs, summer camps, YMCA’s, sports groups, museum programs, Faith organizations and many, many more.
Those community organizations who are interested in having a staff training or consultation on this subject can contact the following for more information:
- The Arc of Massachusetts: email@example.com
- Lisa Drennan, MERGE Diverse Abilities Inclusion Consulting at https://www.mergeconsulting.org/
- Jack Yates: firstname.lastname@example.org
This presentation for and by self-advocates and other people with disabilities, explores the very important topic of friendship. Friendship makes us happier, healthier, and safer, and every single one of us needs and deserves it! Presentation participants will discuss what makes a friend and why friendship is important, and will also learn some methods for making friends, and for overcoming challenges to building friendship.