Brown goes on to say that
some social activities and environments are more effective than others in promoting
friendships. Political action, singing, acting, social dancing, special interest
groups, and religious organizations provide excellent opportunities for friendship.
On the other hand, many teens with Down syndrome participate in events that
are less suitable for forming friendships: mall walking, shopping, spectator
sports, and bowling. (Brown, 1999)
to say, the type of activity and the setting selected also guides the type of
friendships that may spring up. An adolescent with Down syndrome who participates
in inclusive events, such as a religious youth group, will have more opportunities
for friendships with typically-developing peers. A teen who spends time only
in events or groups designed for individuals with disabilities will naturally
make friendships within that group. Even within special needs settings, there
may be distinctions between settings for teens with physical challenges and
environments for adolescents with cognitive impairments. These decisions are
highly personal ones, to be made by the teen and other family members.
Nurses who work with youths with Down syndrome can serve a valuable function by guiding teens and parents toward the environments that provide a chance to make friends. The nurse can also discuss the preferences of the teen and the family for inclusive settings versus activities for individuals with disabilities. Knowing the youths interests, strengths, and abilities, the nurse can share ideas about particular clubs or social events.
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