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Friendship and Social Inclusion
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Specific information on supporting friendships between people with and without disabilities, and programs that are successful in community inclusion.

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Managed by: Lisa Derx (LisaDerx@bestbuddies.org) of Best Buddies International

Product Categories
Books, Publications & Reports (printed and/or online) (81 Products)
Electronic Media (45 Products)
Organizations, Programs, and Projects (24 Products)
Online Forums (2 Products)
Other (2 Products)
People Who Can Help (4 Products)

Books, Publications & Reports (printed and/or online)
101 Ways to Make Friends: Ideas and Conversation Starters for People with Disabilities and Their Supporters, 2nd Edition
This manual shows many ways that people with disabilities can make friends.
60 Social Situations and Discussion Starters to Help Teens on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Friendships, Feelings, Conflict and More
This book use real life examples to help people on the autism spectrum learn social skills.
A 5 Is Against the Law! Social Boundaries - Straight Up! An Honest Guide for Teens and Young Adults
This book teaches young people ways to keep track of their feelings and behaviors. It may be especially helpful to people who have Asperger's syndrome.
A Guide to Building Community Membership for Older Adults with Disabilities
This manual provides practical steps and strategies to help older adults with disabilities become more connected with their communities.
ABCD in Action: When People Care Enough to Act
This book and DVD suggest a step-by-step way to build partnerships. These partnerships help people with disabilities become more involved in their communities.
Adults with Down Syndrome
This book covers many areas. It has some chapters written by researchers and others written by self-advocates who have Down syndrome.
Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Helping Preteens & Teens Get Ready for the Real World
This book is about the transition to adulthood for those with Asperger's syndrome.
Asperger Syndrome and Social Relationships: Adults Speak Out about Asperger Syndrome
This book has ideas to help people with Asperger's Syndrome learn to develop friendships.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (4th Edition)
This book explains communication technologies that help people meet their communication needs.
Aunt Katie's Visit
This is a great first book for children to read and have a conversation about people with disabilities.
Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers
The book is about the author's life with autism. He also offers advice to others who have autism or who know someone who does.
Be Good to Eddie Lee
A short film about a friendship between a young girl and a neighbor boy with Down syndrome. This film was inspired by the popular children's book, "Be Good to Eddie Lee" written by Virginia Fleming
Breaking Bread, Nourishing Connections: People with and without Disabilities Together at Mealtime
This is an easy-to-use book with poems, personal stories and photographs from people around the world. It shows how mealtime can be a chance for people with and without disabilities to spend time getting to know each other.
Building Friendships at Work Toolkit
This toolkit has many ideas for building relationships between staff with and without disabilities at work.
Celebrate Diverse ABILITIES
A newsletter with stories of people with disabilities and events in British Columbia, Canada. You can read it online.
Connecting People: The steps to making it happen
This report is about helping people with disabilities to meet and get to know other people in their community. There is also a video on YouTube.
Counselling People on the Autism Spectrum A Practical Manual
This book explains the emotional needs common to people who have Autism. It has ideas useful for professional counselers, and also for people who have Autism, their family members and friends.
Creating Inclusive Play and Community Spaces
This report has information about how to make play and community spaces inclusive of children with disabilities.
Crossing the River: Creating a conceptual revolution in community & disability
This classic book discusses real community integration and belonging for individuals with disabilities.
Do You Understand Me?
This book is written by an eleven-year-old girl who has autism. She explains the hard parts of her life and what helps.
Do-Si-Do With Autism
This children's book helps kids without disabilities understand autism and encourages friendship and social inclusion. There is also a small curriculum available to accompany it.
Everyday Heroes
This video and curriculum tells stories about direct support professionals. They show how DSPs made it possible for people with disabilities to become more involved in their communities.
Facilitating an Everyday Life
This book is a guide for people who want to support people with disabilities independent of an agency.
Feeling Good About Yourself: A Guide for People Working with People Who Have Disabilities or Low Self-Esteem
This book has information and activities on self-esteem, social skills, sexuality, decision making, assertiveness, and preventing victimization.
Friends & Inclusion: Five Approaches to Building Relationships
A book about building friendships and living a more inclusive life. It is written by two parents with help from their daughter.
Friends: Connecting people with disabilities and community members
This manual has many ideas to help people with disabilities increase community membership and friendships. There are also many activities for staff training.
Friendships and Community Connections between People with and without Developmental Disabilities
A book about promoting friendships with community members and full community inclusion
From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More - 10 Essential Abilities Every Child Needs and Deserves to Learn
This book reviews life skills and people who have austism spectrum disorders.
From Institutions to Individuals: On becoming person-centred
This book has stories written by, for, and about people who have intellectual disabilities.
Getting to Community: Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities in their Pursuit of the Good Life
This book is about promoting self determination and great lives for people with disabilities.
How To Understand Autism- The Easy Way
This book provides many ideas and examples that help the reader to understand Autism.
Hug Me, Touch Me (From the "Books Beyond Words" series)
This book uses a story with drawings to explain when it is, and is not OK to hug or touch other people. It is easy to read and can be downloaded for free.
Hygiene and Related Behaviors for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum and Related Disorders: A Fun Curriculum with a Focus on Social Understanding
This book teaches social and life skills.
A newsletter with articles on research, current trends in services, and success stories. Each issue has a specific focus area important to persons with disabilities.
Impact: Feature Issue on Faith Communities and Persons with Developmental Disabilities
A collection of articles that introduce key issues, provide examples of exemplary programs, share personal stories, and provide resources for persons interested in building inclusive fath communities
Impact: Feature Issue on Social Inclusion Through Recreation for Persons with Disabilities
This issue of the Impact newsletter is about ways to increase the social inclusion of people with disabilities through recreation. Though some information may be dated, you can still download the full text as a PDF for free.
Impact: Feature Issue on Stories of Advocacy, Stories of Change From People with Disabilities, Their Families, and Allies
This newsletter has eleven stories that show how systems change has come about through advocacy by people with disabilities and their allies. It is available both online and as a print publication.
Impact: Feature Issue on Supporting the Social Well-Being of Children and Youth with Disabilities
This issue of the Impact newsletter is about ways adults can support the social well-being of youth with disabilities. You can download it for free as a PDF file.
Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities: A Guide for Service Providers, Families, and Congregations
This book has guides to help people with developmental disabilities be part of the faith community of their choice. It also helps congregations be more welcoming and creative, and teaches support staff how to pay attention to people's spiritual needs.
Inservice/Sensitivity Training for Selective Mutism
This 20-minute classroom presentation is designed to reduce or stop kids from teasing the Selectively Mute student. The goal is to help kids become friends.
Learning the Hidden Curriculum: The Odyssey of One Autistic Adult
This book helps people who have Autism learn about social cues. It is written by a woman with first hand experience.
Let's Talk Relationships: Activities for Exploring Love, Sex, Friendship and Family With Young People 2nd Edition
This book has activities to teach young people about relationships.
Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults
This book is written by a woman who has Asperger's Syndrome. In the book she gives ideas on how to handle daily life activities.
Life in the Community
This is the final report from an action research project. The project focused on daytime services and ways to include people with disabilities in their communities.
Living Well on the Spectrum
This book has ideas for people on the autism spectrum to improve the quality of their lives.
Make a Difference: A Guidebook for Person-Centered Direct Support
This book and curriculum supports action-learning about relationship building, planning with people in a person-centered way, supporting choice, & building community inclusion.
Mike's Crush
This book has lessons for youth with Asperger's syndrome about relationships and boundaries. There is also a version for families.
My Best Friend Will
This black and white photo journal shares the relationship between 11-year-old Jamie and her friend Will who has autism.
My Brother is Very Special
This is a perfect book to share with young children learning to accept a classmate, friend, or sibling with special needs. The story is about a boy who cannot speak and is told by his sister.
One family's story of inclusion in religion.
This online article is written by a mom whose daughter has multiple disabilities. In it she explains how she helped her daughter become included in Church and Sunday School.
Participation and Contribution through Work, Study and Valued Roles
This booklet has ideas for people with disabilities to get more involved in their communities. The ideas are about them taking on "valued social roles."
Pathfinders: People with Developmental Disabilities & Their Allies Building Communities That Work Better for Everybody
This book uses stories to show many ways that people with disabilities can be supported to be self-directing and socially included members of their communities.
This novel is about the relationship that develops between a teenager and an elder with cerebral palsy who had lived in institutions for much of his life.
This photo essay shows why inclusive classes are important for high school students with disabilities. There is a book and a movie.
Quality in Practice: Social Roles
This fact sheet helps agencies think about how to best support people in taking on valued social roles in their communities.
Receiving the Gift of Friendship: Profound Disability, Theological Anthropology, and Ethics
This book challenges the way people think about intellectual disability. It does this to promote community inclusion and belonging for people with significant disabilities.
Reflections of Erin
This book is the memoir and life story of a mother raising a daughter with a disability.
Relationships Skills: A photo resource
These cards and booklet help people learn about relationships.
Riding The Bus With My Sister: A True Life Journey
A true story about a woman with a developmental disability, her professor sister, and the city bus trip that brings them back to each other.
Seeing the Charade: What We Need to Do and Undo to Make Friendships Happen
This book shows how hard it is for youth who have disabilities to make friends.
Sharing Community: Strategies, Tips and Lessons Learned From Experiences of Community Building at Options
Through photos and stories, this handbook has twenty tips and lessons for helping people with developmental disabilities to have community membership
Social Behavior and Self-Management: 5-Point Scales for Adolescents and Adults
This book helps people who have autism understand their feelings. This can make it easier to be a self-advocate and also to make friends.
Social Inclusion at Work
This book gives readers clear ways to help people with disabilities work together with and build friendships with others. It focuses on the places where people work.
Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults with Asperger Syndrome A Practical Guide to Day-to-Day Life
This book is about helping people with Asperger's Syndrome learn social skills and make friends. It has tools for youth to work through to practice the skills. The first three chapters are available to read online.
Support Networks A Guide for Self Advocates
This booklet gives self-advocates ideas on how to build a support network.
The ABC's of Ability
This book uses pictures and simple words to explain what is important to people with disabilities. It covers work, play, and contribution.
The Art of Welcoming Booklet
This booklet explains how to welcome new individuals to a group.
The Common Thread
A collection of stories about friendship and community building. You can read it online.
The Community Place
A book about the experiences developing The Community Place in Manchester, Connecticut -- a community gathering place that became much more.
The Company of Others: Stories of Belonging
This book shows how caring relationships can reduce loneliness and isolation. It does so by sharing five life stories.
The Guide to Dating for Teenagers with Asperger Syndrome
This book is a conversation starter about dating. It can be read with a teacher or a parent.
The Hidden Curriculum for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations for Adolescents and Young Adults Revised & expanded edition
This book teaches people with autism how deal with various social situations.
The Principles and Practices of Universal Enhancement, 2nd Edition
This book teaches readers how to support people with disabilities to have full and meaningful lives.
The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal
A book about a man on a journey to meet people who have been labeled abnormal. He learns that word "disability" should never define a person.
The Social and Life Skills Menu: A Skill Building Workbook for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This book helps people with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn how to get along in the world. There are many questionnaires and work sheets to help.
The Social Success Workbook for Teens: Skill-Building Activities for Teens with Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Asperger's Disorder & Other Social-Skill
This workbook has activities to help people develop social skills.
The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism-2nd edition
The authors of this book use stories from their lives to talk about social relationships and autism.
Transition to Retirement: A Guide to Inclusive Practice
This manual and DVD explain how to help people gradually build an active and socially inclusive retirement lifestyle.
Under Cottonwoods: A Novel of Friendship, Fly Fishing and Redemption
This novel is about two Wyoming friends who are drawn together by their love of flyfishing and the outdoors. Both have difficult challenges,one has a traumatic brain injury, the story shows how they help each other.
What's wrong with Timmy?
This children's book tells a story about an eight-year-old girl who becomes friends with a boy named Timmy who has intellectual disabilities.
Who Cares? Rediscovering Community
This is an inspiring book by David Schwartz, an original thinker about fully caring and inclusive communities. This book talks about both formal and informal ways to rediscover a sense of lost community.
Electronic Media (Videos, CDs, T.V., Radio, Websites, etc.)
"And Thatís How I got Free of My Isolation" - Conversations on Isolation
A short documentary in which self-advocate leaders are interviewed about how they became more independent in their lives.
ABCD in Action: When People Care Enough to Act
This book and DVD suggest a step-by-step way to build partnerships. These partnerships help people with disabilities become more involved in their communities.
All Ways Welcome
This 20 minute video explains disability etiquette. It includes people with several different types of disabilities who show how they want to be treated by others.
Alone in a Crowded Room
This film tells the stories of four adults with autism.
Asking for Help - Haddayr Copley-Woods
This is a short radio interview of a woman with MS. She talks about what it is like to have complete strangers insist on giving her help even when she does not want it. She also talks about her difficulty with asking for help when she needs it.
Asperger's Difference DVD: A Film For and About Young People with Asperger's Syndrome
This DVD is about people with Asperger's Syndrome.
Autism Vision
This video helps the classmates of children with autism understand their disability. It is meant for children ages 8 to 11.
By Any Other Name
This film shows a friendship between a man who has Down syndrome and his co-worker. You can watch a preview online.
Celebrating Diversity: A Universal Message from the Real Rain Man
This video tells the life story of Kim Peek. He was the inspiration for the Academy Award winning motion picture "Rain Man." He talks about social inclusion.
This is a networking website for people with a developmental disability and their supporters. It has information about many different topics and opportunities in Southern Ontario.
Doin' It: Sex, Disability, & Videotape
The Empowered Fe Fe's is a group of young women with disabilities from Chicago. They created a film about being a teenager and having a disability.
Do-Si-Do With Autism
This children's book helps kids without disabilities understand autism and encourages friendship and social inclusion. There is also a small curriculum available to accompany it.
Educating Peter
This classic documentary film is about a third-grader with Down Syndrome who was fully included in his class. It aired on HBO and won an academy award for best short documentary.
Everyday Heroes
This video and curriculum tells stories about direct support professionals. They show how DSPs made it possible for people with disabilities to become more involved in their communities.
Fostering Friendships for People with and without Disabilities
This training on this CD promotes friendships between children and young adults with and without disabilities.
This DVD and workbook helps self-advocates learn the difference between types of relationships. It also highlights the importance of having friends.
Going to School (Ir a la Escuela)
Video on inclusion, special education, & empowering children with disabilities & their parents.†
How Come You Walk Funny?
This documentary film is about a kindergarten program in Canada. Though it is designed for kids with disabilities, some parents are enrolling their kids without disabilities.
I Belong Out There
The real life examples in the video will motivate staff and people with disabilities to participate and succeed in community activities. It comes with 16 pages of reproducible written materials.
I Know How to Act DVD
This DVD teaches helpful social skills. It is designed for adolescents but may also work with adults.
I Love Grilled Cheese
This short film features Libby, a 4-year old who shares the joy of being her best friend, and big brother, Max, who has Down syndrome.
This website has online lessons to help adults with intellectual disabilities build friendships. There are also informational articles for families and educators.
A social networking website of people who have disabilities.
Inclusion (Journal)
This online journal has articles about including people with disabilities in community life.
Inclusion Network Website
A website with a lot of information about community inclusion and people with disabilities.
Itís Okay to Ask
This children's book helps all kids to understand disabilities. It is available for free.
Jacob's Turn
A short documentary about a boy with Down syndrome and his love of baseball.
Karin Melberg Schwier Website
A site featuring Karin Melberg Schwier. Karin is the parent of a person with an intellectual disability, an author, a blogger and more.
A web site with information about recreation and leisure activities, services, advocacy, and other useful things to persons with disabilities who live in Minnesota.
Living a Good Life: Personal Support Networks
These 6 videos show what happens when people with a disability exercise control over their lives. They also show how personal networks help.
Living Proof: The Right to Live in the Community
This 20-minute film shows people with disabilities who live in Zagreb, Croatia. They have moved out of institutions and now lead lives in the community. Subtitles in English.
Make All Volunteering as Accessible as Possible
This short article explains why it is important to include people with disabilities in volunteer programs.
Manners For the Real World: Basic Social Skills (DVD)
This DVD teaches good social behavior.
Mr. Blue Sky
A love story about a woman with Down syndrome and a man without a disability.
National Goals in Research, Practice and Policy for and with People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
This webpage is a nice summary of the National Goals Conference that was held in 2015. There are many articles that can be downloaded, and video clips with researchers and persons with disabilities explaining the 10 areas focused on.
This photo essay shows why inclusive classes are important for high school students with disabilities. There is a book and a movie.
Resources on Community Support and Inclusion
This webpage gives a listing of journal articles and other resources that support community integration and community inclusion for people with disabilities. Most were created through the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University between 1989-2006.
Shattered Lives: A Study of Autism
This film uses case studies of infants, children, teens and adults to explain autism all across the spectrum. You can watch it online for free or purchase a copy through Amazon.
This 29-minute film is about a friendship between a young man and a young woman. Justin has autism and Lyndsy who is Justin's art student has a condition called Polymyositis. You can watch the entire film online for free.
Social Participation and Rural/Vulnerable Communities: Does Asset Ownership Matter?
This paper is based on a comprehensive review of the relevant literature. It examines the impact of owning your own home on meaningful social inclusion.
Strong Love
A film about the life of two people who decide to get married. Both were born with Down syndrome and one of them is a World-class weight lifter
The Puzzle Club: Brain Injury Survivors Talk
This award winning play discusses what it is like to live with a brain injury from the survivor's perspective. It does this by sharing the stories of thirteen survivors who have formed a weekly support group called "The Puzzle Club." They live in Montana.
The Relationship Series
This is an DVD-based curriculum on relationships for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
Weaving the Ties that Bind: Personal Network Facilitation
This on-line course teaches how to build and facilitate social networks for people who are socially isolated.
Where Hope Grows
This hollywood film is about the friendship between an ex-professional baseball player and a man with Down syndrome.
Organizations, Programs, and Projects
Best Buddies International, Inc.
This organization is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development.
Break Through Inc.
This organization provides training on sensitivity towards persons with disabilities. It is led by Ben Anderson, a person who has cerebral palsy.
Center for Disability Information and Referral
This Center is a primary source of quality information on disability for residents of Indiana.
Circles Network
This agency uses Circles of Support to help people who are isolated or at risk of isolation. It is located in the United Kingdom.
Community Connections
This program in Ohio helps people with disabilities become more involved in community activities.
Congregational Accessibility Network
A network of people and a website with tools to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in faith communities.
Denver Adult Down Syndrome Clinic
This clinic is for people who have Down syndrome and live in Colorado. It provides medical care, as well as social and wellness support.
Disabled Dating- Dating4Disabled.com
This Online community offers blogs, forums, dating and more. It offers a fun way to make new friends, and find a partner for life. Membership is free and non-committal.
e-Buddies creates e-mail friendships between people with and without developmental disabilities.
EXPAND (Exciting Programs Adventures and New Dimensions) Program
This program makes leisure opportunities happen for persons with disabilities. It is part of Boulder, Colorado's city Parks and Recreation Department
Friendship Ministries
This organization provides information and new ideas for helping people with disabilities learn about faith and become members of a church.
Good Life Networks
This family-led initiative helps people with disabilities create friendships and relationships in the community. It is located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hussman Center for Adults with Autism
This center has many activities for young adults with autism. It is located at Towson University in Maryland.
I am Norm
This campaign was started by 20 young people, with and without disabilities, to show that everyone is normal. They hope to help everyone be equal and included in everyday life.
Inclusion Press
This group has many books and DVDs to help people learn about topics like person-centered planning and social inclusion.
Inclusion Research Institute
A research and information center that shares ideas about recent innovations promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all types of settings.
Michael Steinbruck, Songwriter
Michael writes powerful songs about respect and inclusion. You can hear them on YouTube.
National Alliance for Accessible Golf/Project GAIN
The purpose of The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is to increase participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf.
National Inclusion Project
This project promotes inclusion for individuals with disabilities, with a focus on children. The project runs the "Let's All Play" initiative that helps programs become more inclusive.
Pathways to Independence Natural Supports project
A program that finds and shares natural ways that youth with disabilities can be fully included in school, work and community life.
PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship
This institute develops and shares strategies to assure vulnerable people have access to networks of natural support. It works throughout Canada and around the world.
The "Start with Hi" campaign
This program encourages everyone to "Start With Hi" when meeting a person with disabilities. It is meant to help everyone feel safe and included in communities.
Values in Action Association
This Australian organization works to assure that everyone is involved in their community. They follow the tenets of Social Role Valorization theory and have created a community of practice.
Youth Arc
An organization led by youth, with and without developmental disabilities, participating in social and recreational activities together. Through the Youth Arc participants learn to appreciate each others strengths and to work together as a team.
Online Forums
Disabled Dating- Dating4Disabled.com
This Online community offers blogs, forums, dating and more. It offers a fun way to make new friends, and find a partner for life. Membership is free and non-committal.
On Being of Service
This is a blog about supporting people with disabilities to become included and respected in their communities.
The Eighth Day (Le Huitieme Jour)
This film is about the friendship between a businessman and a man with Down syndrome.
The Social Success Workbook for Teens: Skill-Building Activities for Teens with Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Asperger's Disorder & Other Social-Skill
This workbook has activities to help people develop social skills.
People Who Can Help
Angela Amado
Angela Amado has conducted training throughout the U.S., Canada, and also in the Netherlands and Israel on person-centered planning, friendships between people with and without developmental disabilities, community building, self-determination, and per...
Cathy Ficker Terrill
Cathy is a porfessional,parent of a child with a dsiabiltiy and a person with a brain injury. She has done extensive work at the local, state, national and international arena in the areas of strategic planning, building social capitol, organizational...
Mike Green
Mike works from a citizen-centered perspective with local people at the center. The focus is on two organizing questions: organizing local citizens and their allies to mobilize their local resources to work together to solve problems, and how agencies ...
Peter Leidy
Peter Leidy is a speaker, consultant and writer on many issues involving disability. He also writes and sings funny songs about life in the human services system. Peter consults with individuals, families, organizations, counties, and states in ar...

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