Many people who have cerebral palsy or autism find that their core friendships are often very close to home. In fact, a majority of those surveyed in the United States reveal that family members and next-door neighbors are often the ones that they count as best friends. There is nothing wrong with being close to your family members. In fact, most children learn about friendships by playing with siblings, cousins, and neighborhood kids. However, there comes a time when you will want to branch out and make friends outside the home. For some, friendship and disability can be like oil and water – its seems as though they will never come together as one. Finding friends with cerebral palsy or autism can be challenging, so it pays to join a social support network where you can gain opportunities to make friends and enjoy social situations.
Why Friendships are Important
Making friends is an essential part of the human experience for many reasons. Friendships are forged when two people choose each other and decide to stay close. Some friends live locally, and social outings can be a great way to spend time together. Other friends may live far away, requiring phone calls, video chats, or even letters to communicate on a regular basis. Gatherings and events may be a great way to enjoy friends with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. Whether you both belong to a social support network or have joined a group together that has annual vacations and events can determine how often you would see each other in real life.
It can be difficult for people with disabilities to make and keep friendships. In order to have friendships as an adult, it is crucial for people to learn how to deal with friendship and disability as a child. Because many individuals who have disabilities live with family members and spend a great deal of their time at home or doing things with parents, siblings, and other relatives, they might not have time for friendships outside of the family. This can be a missed opportunity for both the individual and the family members, who might not get to enjoy and appreciate the success experienced when making a new friend. So whether you make friends with cerebral palsy, autism, or another type of developmental disability, or even someone without a disability, it is important to at least give it a chance.
Safe Spaces for Building Friendships
All Friends Network is a safe and comfortable place for people with many different types of developmental disabilities to learn how to make and maintain friendships. Our social support network is growing and building to include many unique resources and opportunities to make friends. Local events, national gatherings, and online lessons, skill-builders, and tools can all be used to help you overcome any concerns, misgivings, or fears about learning how to make new friends. Presenting our members with opportunities to meet others that they may share something in common with is half the battle. The other half includes providing support, education, training, and continued opportunities to maintain those new friendships.
Families can participate by engaging with the social support network to find upcoming events and other interactive gatherings that their loved one can participate in locally or online. The more you can do as a parent or sibling to help reduce barriers and eliminate concerns about meeting new people, the easier it will be for someone with disabilities to learn how to make friends. Encourage without pressuring, listen to their concerns, and find new ways to bring them together with others at school, church, community events, and other social opportunities. All Friends Network is an excellent way to learn how to build friendships, but individuals need to be supported and encouraged by those that they love and trust.
Ready to Get Started?
If you would like to join All Friends Network and become a part of our social support network to meet friends with cerebral palsy, autism, and other developmental disabilities, you can sign-up online via our website or give us a call directly at 941-587-7172. We are a 501-(C)(3) Non-Profit Corporation within the State of Florida. Our goal is to help people of all ages with a concentration of young adults. We have many resources and planned group activities for our members, including our new Live-LINK app, which is designed to connect our members and be interactive and fun!