Assistant Professor of Special Education in Childhood and Exceptional Education, Dr. Zachary Rossetti, delivered the keynote address at the 13th annual “Focus” on Vision Impairment & Blindness Conference on May 14th, 2018. Coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, this inter-agency state conference aims to meet the complex needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and vision loss.
In his keynote, Friends Matter: Promoting Authentic Social Opportunities for All, Dr. Rossetti emphasized the importance of friendships and presented approaches and interventions to promote contexts in which friendships are more likely to develop between individuals with and without ID and vision loss. Friendships are personally valuable and developmentally important relationships for all people, yet friendships between individuals with and without ID and vision loss remain infrequent.
Extant research indicates that (a) opportunity barriers may play a more prominent role in friendship development than the social skills of individuals with ID, and (b) when friendships between individuals with and without ID have developed, direct support from educators, support staff, and/or families has been a critical facilitator. Thus, this keynote shared narrative examples of social successes and challenges, as well as research-based strategies to promote authentic friendship between individuals with and without ID and vision loss.
To learn more about Dr. Rossetti’s research, please visit the links below: