Many people find it difficult to meet new friends and to make lasting friendships. However, it is even more challenging for children and teens with developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy and autism. When you have good friends, they can be there for you to support you in the good times and the bad. They are the people you turn to when you need to talk about a problem or get sound advice. For most individuals, friends often have value far beyond family members because we share common interests and experiences. Overcoming disabilities and learning how to make and keep friendships can be beneficial in many ways. The All Friends Network (AFN) online support network was created to create opportunities for friendship and disability, to help young people gain the confidence and skills they need to make friends.
Learn How to Make Friends
While no two kids are exactly the same, many children with developmental disabilities have problems making and keeping friends. For most, the symptoms of the disability create a stumbling block that can impact the way they communicate with others. Some will be able to meet new friends and establish friendships quickly but have difficulty maintaining them for any length of time. This can be true for all children – regardless of any disability – so it pays to take the time necessary to get help from an online support network to learn how to communicate and have the social skills required to form lasting relationships with others.
Self-esteem, confidence, socialization, and innate fears are just some of the reasons kids and teens have a difficulty in overcoming disabilities when it comes to making friends. Being left out of playground games and conversations at school can be frustrating and mostly just adds to the concerns that children have about being able to meet new friends. Talking with, playing with, and interacting with other children with similar interests and disabilities can be just what your child needs to learn how to relate to and be friends with others in their same age group. After a day filled with doctors, therapists, care providers, and parents, sometimes the best medicine for a child is to spend time with other children and just be a kid.
Learn How to Connect
Expanding on the issues surrounding friendship and disability, childhood is when we learn how to connect with others and learn how to communicate effectively. It can be challenging for parents to stand on the sideline and watch their child suffer, but you can’t force them to meet new friends and talk with others, it has to happen organically. When that happens, the child will have the ability to form healthy opinions of themselves and others and inject themselves positively into the world. Certain benchmarks must be achieved as your child learns how to communicate and develops friendship-making skills to ensure that they will be able to form future bonds with other kids and adults as they grow.
The mission of All Friends Network is to help people of all ages who have developmental disabilities like autism and cerebral palsy. The primary age group that we are targeting is young adults, but we will have resources and planned group activities for members of all ages. The Live Link application is designed to connect all members and provide interactive and fun opportunities in a safe and friendly environment. The focus is on learning how to meet new friends, cultivate relationships, enhance life skills, and prepare for a productive and more meaningful life. Overcoming disabilities is not something that you have to do alone. Our online support network is designed to bring people together who share common interests, experiences, and goals.
Friendship and Disability
There are many benefits that come from learning how to make and retain friendships in life. If you would like to learn more about All Friends Network or would like to find out how to join as a member, contact us through the website or by calling 941-587-7172. We can answer any questions you might have about the programs, goals, and opportunities of our online support network and put you on the mailing list to receive updates about future events, programs, and gatherings.