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A case study of an intentional friendship between a volunteer and adult with severe intellectual disability: “My life is a lot richer!”

Bigby, C., Craig, D.,

Academic Literature

2016

This research points out that friendships between people with intellectual disability and the wider community are unusual because people with intellectual disability tend to live in a ‘distinct social space’ with social networks often restricted to paid staff, families and peers with disability. The shift to individualised service delivery creates new opportunities for increased social relationships and diverse friendships.

This case study describes how a friendship is initially nurtured by the formal involvement of a disability support service. Over time, the relationship between a person with intellectual disability and a volunteer grew all the hallmarks of genuine friendship. This relationship developed out of shared interests and needs and had inherent reciprocity and mutual caring. The individualised nature of the way their relationship developed was found to be key. They went places together, and participated in the kinds of groups and activities that any friends would.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Community and civic participation, Social relationships

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