The Other 80% of Their Time: The Experiences of Elementary and Middle School Students with Disabilities in Their Nonschool Hours

This document describes students experience outside of the school day, such as their time spent at home with family members, playing with other children, taking part in extra curricular activities, pursuing individual interests, or engaging in community activities.


We found that 92% of parents expected their children "definitely" or "probably" to graduate from high school with a regular diploma, and more than three-fourths were expected "definitely" or "probably" to go on to postsecondary education after high school. Sadly, the evidence suggests that these expectations greatly exceed the rate at which students with disabilities actually graduate from high school (57%) or attend postsecondary school (14%) (NLTS2, 1990).

Differences between primary disability categories demonstrate how functional limitations can have significant effects on social interactions. Students with learning disabilities or speech/language, hearing, or other health impairments tended to be the most socially active.

There was a pattern of greater social interaction among older students, consistent with research on the general population of students.

There is a strong positive relationship between parent's ratings of their children's social skills and both their child's peer interactions and participation in extracurricular activities. More socially active students also were reported to be generally more socially skilled students.



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Last Updated 04/03