Sometimes friendships seem challenging for our children with disabilities. The difficulty seems to increase if our child is nonverbal or more physically involved. As parents, we often must take a deliberate approach to help our child develop friendships. The following ideas will help get the creativity flowing.
Volunteer often in whatever your child enjoys and is active in. It’s a great way to meet kids who enjoy the same types of activities your child enjoys. By interacting, you can see which children are drawn to your child. Learn their names, meet their parents, and have conversations with them. Always include your child in the conversations and try to find out what things your child has in common with the other kids. You will notice naturally developing friendships that you can build on. Make note of these children and remember their names so you can talk to your child about them at home.
Make nice, age-appropriate “business cards” for your child to hand out to their classmates and friends. The cards can include your child’s name, phone number, and email address so their classmates can call and keep in touch if they want to. If your child is unable to hand out cards on their own, ask classmates or friends to help your child pass them out.
Host regular parties, play dates, and gatherings for classmates and friends. No need to wait for a birthday! It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive. Here are a few ideas:
The sky is the limit! For more ideas, check out our page on After School Activities and Programs for Students with Disabilities.