After watching the film “Rory O’Shea Was Here” and analyzing both the concept of Hutchinson in the film and in my experience, it is clear that there are numerous ways in which people who are able to enjoy deep and meaningful friendships differently from those outside the group could be possible. One of those forms is through encouragement. The more different people are able to support each other, the stronger their relationship becomes and consequently becomes profound and meaningful (O’Donnell, 2004). When the necessary support is individualized and provided by skillful assistants who deeply value friendships, people who are differently abled are highly likely to enhance their connections and relationships (O’Donnell, 2004).
Another way in which it might be possible for individuals who are differently abled to enjoy deep and meaningful friendships compared to those outside the community. One of such ways is through assistances. The more differently abled people assist one another, the more their relationship becomes strong and eventually become deep and meaningful (O’Donnell, 2004). When the necessary support is individualized and provided by skillful assistants who deeply value friendships, people who are differently abled are highly likely to enhance their connections and relationships (O’Donnell, 2004).
Another way in which it might be possible for differently abled persons to enjoy deep and meaningful friendship if through service. The provision of good services can help differently abled individuals to overcome the barriers between them, thereby making them develop deep connections beyond the family levels in the service settings (Subramanian, 2016). However, it usually takes sustained and conscious work by the differently abled persons, as well as their supporters to establish deep, and meaningful friendships, and keep them alive (Subramanian, 2016).
Learning is another way in which it might be possible for differently disabled persons to enjoy deep and meaningful friendship. Learning processes require that differently abled persons work together to expand their knowledge, skills, memberships, networks, and friendships (O’Donnell, 2004). On the part of differently abled persons, undergoing such kinds of learning processes takes courage and confidence. Courage in the sense that they have to risk the initial discomfort and any possible rejection in the new friendship; and confidence in the sense that they have something to gain and something to contribute to the new friendship (O’Donnell, 2002). However, differently abled persons usually embrace the discomfort and uncertainty when they share a common learning process, thereby making it possible for the development of a deep and meaningful friendship (O’Donnell, 2004).
The challenges of enjoying deep and meaningful relationships among differently abled individuals relate to opportunity, support, and continuity of the friendship. Most differently abled persons have limited opportunities to participate in activities where they can interact with their typical peers. That could be due to physical segregation or other related reasons (Borker & Bhat, 2015). Also, friendships between differently abled persons are not formed by putting unsupported individuals together. Most differently abled individuals require assistances to fit into certain activities and settings. In fact, others may need continuous facilitation for their involvement in various activities that bring people together (Borker & Bhat, 2015). Additionally, while differently abled persons may enjoy deep and meaningful friendships, such friendships are sustained by individuals who have known one another over time. Most differently abled persons do not have continuous relationships since they may be transferred from one program or point to another or leave their families (O’Donnell, 2004).
One of the special considerations for having friendships with differently abled persons is the need to support each other emotionally, especially those who view things from similar points of view. Another special consideration is the need to think of friendships and friends as individuals who stand together during times of crisis (O’Donnell, 2004). The need to get involved in various community activities and get exposed to new life experiences is another special consideration for having friendships with differently abled people. The friendships between differently abled persons, in most cases, enrich the lives of both parties involved (Subramanian, 2016).
My own experience of friendship with individuals who are differently abled is that people can establish friendships with each other regardless of the differences in abilities. Differently abled individuals can create opportunities for each other to meet and share moments together in ways that encourage the friendships to grow and flourish. Families and various service providers have significant roles to play in availing opportunities for the creation of friendships between differently abled persons.
Borker, S., & Bhat, S. (2015). Differently abled. Journal Of Mahatma Gandhi Institute Of Medical Sciences, 20(1), 116. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0971-9903.151734
O’Donnell, D. (2004). Rory O’Shea Was Here.
Subramanian, D. (2016). An Evaluation of the Needs among Differently Abled Population. Journal Of Medical Science And Clinical Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.18535/jmscr/v4i6.75