Widening the Circle/Pathways to Friendship, a partner initiative between The Arc of Massachusetts and the Department of Developmental Services, has been adjusting to the changing world we live in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Program Lead Jim Ross discusses Pathways’ new approach to facilitating friendships for school age children below and requests your input.
Widening the Circle/Pathways to Friendships is (re)designing many of its trainings related to friendships between people with and without disabilities. We are working on developing the content for a PowerPoint related to Friends at School.
Our toolkit on this topic (https://thearcofmass.org/friendship) is full of good tips but, because it was written 2 years prior to the pandemic, assumes in-school opportunities for connections.
Times have certainly changed. Now, we want to collect ideas that teachers and parents can use to keep their school-aged children with disabilities connected to their peers without disabilities, whether schools are open for in-person classes, teaching remotely, or combining the two. This is very important for the health and well-being of all of our young people.
Your ideas can include tips to use in classrooms during academic time; non-academic school times like lunch and recess; school-sponsored after-school activities; community after-school opportunities; etc.
Send your ideas directly to firstname.lastname@example.org