Social interaction and participation in activities for students with and without intellectual disabilities
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Adolescence marks a time of increased social freedoms and opportunities to participate in new productive and leisure activities. As compared to typically developing high school students, those with intellectual disabilities (ID) can face more barriers to involvement in these activities. This study examined the involvement of high school students with and without ID in productive and leisure activities. Furthermore, it identified factors related to involvement, and it examined students’ satisfaction with their social interactions. Forty-seven typically developing high school students completed in-person interviews, and 45 of the students’ parents completed telephone interviews. Archival data from 63 parents of high school students with ID and 41 students with ID were also used. Students provided information about their satisfaction with social interactions, and, additionally, typically developing students provided information about the productive and leisure activities in which they participated. Parents in both groups provided information about their adolescents’ adaptive functioning and maladaptive behaviour, and parents of students with ID also provided information about the productive and leisure activities in which their adolescent participated. Results showed that typically developing students were more likely to be involved in employment and unstructured leisure activities than students with ID; however, there was no difference in involvement between the two groups for volunteer and structured leisure activities. Adaptive functioning was related to involvement in structured and unstructured leisure activities. Maladaptive behaviour was related to involvement in productive activities. Typically developing adolescents had a greater number of general daily interactions than adolescents with ID, and they were more satisfied with the quality of these interactions than students with ID. There was no difference in the quantity of close personal interactions between the two groups; however, typically developing students were more satisfied with the quality of their close personal interactions than students with ID. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.