The paper is situated in a research project at the Department of Education at the University of Vienna.
The project, Vocational Participation of Persons with Learning Disabilities, tries to analyse the experiences of participation of persons with a learning disability in vocational life and in the transition phase from school to working life.
The aim of the research on the transition phase is to show how people with learning disabilities are developing and recognizing their transition to adulthood.
In the paper presented the focus is set on the experiences of young people with intellectual disabilities concerning friendship and social networks.
A variety of approaches are taken to social contacts.
The adolescents interviewed have had more inclusive experiences in their school live and leisure activities than former generations (participation in youth organisations, fire fighting, friendships with children without disabilities in the village), and peers play an important role in shaping future needs by opening up new perspectives.
The identities of young people with disabilities are shaped by contact with peers without disabilities, as this means that their social life is no longer confined to the excluded group of people with disabilities.
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