1st Edition

Disability in Adolescence

By Elizabeth M. Anderson, Lynda Clarke Copyright 1982

    For all the work on disability in previous years, there had been surprisingly little done on a subject of central importance – the social and psychological needs of teenagers with disabilities. Originally published in 1982, the purpose of this timely book was both to review the literature and to report an extensive study of the nature of the psychological problems, the quality of social life and the adequacy of the services available to a substantial group of teenagers with disabilities in the last years at school, with a follow-up study of half their number a year later.

    The authors show that many of these teenagers, including those with a mild disability, are often unhappy, worried and isolated from their peers. While the majority of the teenagers with disabilities, whether in ordinary or special schools, made friends at school, these friendships were rarely sustained outside. After leaving school the degree of social isolation is as great, and often worse. Among these teenagers the incidence of psychological problems was three to four times higher than for a control group, the most common being worry, depression, misery, fearfulness and lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. For the most part, the teenagers with disabilities were likely to be immature and ill-prepared to cope with adult life. These findings underline the need for a counselling service while the teenagers are still at school, and supporting services when they have left. Like other teenagers, those in this study were unprepared for the possibility of not having a job, and had not thought how to organize their lives if a job was not available or feasible. The authors draw attention to the large proportion of people with disabilities without occupation after leaving school, and the high dissatisfaction with day centres. Perhaps their most important finding is the need to rationalize the piecemeal and overlapping provision of help for school-leavers with disabilities. In the meantime, their book provides a wealth of information of direct use to those concerned with teenagers with disabilities and their families, whether in school provision, careers advice, work placement and alternatives to work, social services, counselling, medical services and further education.

    This book is a re-issue originally published in 1982. The language used is a reflection of its era and no offence is meant by the Publishers to any reader by this re-publication.

    Foreword.  Introduction.  Part I: The Last Years at School  1. Teenagers’ Disabilities and their Schooling  2. The Attainment of Independence and Responsibility  3. Social Life: Friendships and the Use of Leisure  4. Fears and Aspirations about Marriage and Relations with the Opposite Sex  5. Psychological Adjustment and Problems  6. Factors Associated with Teenagers’ Psychological Problems  Part II: The Transition from School to Adult Life  7. Post-school Placements of the Follow-up Group  8. Stresses Encountered During the Transition Year  9. Change and Development in the Post-school Year  Part III: Support from Society and the Family  10. Provision made in Schools to Facilitate the Transition to Adult Life  11. Satisfaction with Vocational and Other Services for School Leavers  12. Coping with Disability: Theoretical Issues and Findings on the Role of the Family and Other Informal Resources  13. Conclusions and Recommendations.  Appendices:  A – The Sample: Selection Procedure and Background Information.  B – Useful Addresses. References.  Index.


    Elizabeth M. Anderson and Lynda Clarke, in collboration with Bernie Spain