For those who are new to the activities and goals of the disabled community, the stress on making friends and building a social network may be surprising. What does friendship have to do with development for children and teenagers? Why are social activities and events so essential? Friendships are important to all children, regardless of their abilities. Autistic children often need help and encouragement as they learn how to make and keep friends. There have been many studies done on the benefits of friendship and depression, which can be a significant concern for autistic kids. The good news is that most children want to make friends, so they are generally eager to take the steps necessary to learn the skills required for making and keeping friendships.
How to Get Started
There are things that can be done to get the ball rolling, so to speak, when it comes to making friends. Begin by finding other children who share common interests and build from there. While many families begin searching within the disabled community, others may start these exercises closer to home. However, when that is not possible, participation in an online networking community can make all the difference. Having friends and learning the skills necessary to build friendships can boost a child’s confidence and help them to develop both socially and emotionally. Studies show that friendships help all children have experiences that help them learn how to manage their emotions, respond to the feelings of others, and learn valuable skills like problem-solving, negotiation, and cooperation.
All Friends Network is a nonprofit, online networking community that was designed to connect young people with disabilities. While local community groups provided opportunities for those in the disabled community to get out and meet people face-to-face, the isolation that came from the pandemic changed everything. Suddenly everyone was working from home, having school at home, and those in-person opportunities disappeared. All Friends Network is a free app and social network for those with developmental disabilities who want to make friends. Now, more than ever, finding a way for young people with autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities is essential to providing them with the skills and confidence they need going forward.
The Benefits of Friendship
There are many reasons why learning how to make and keep friends should be at the top of the list for your developmentally disabled child. Friendships are used by all children and teenagers as real-life lessons that can positively impact their ability to engage socially and emotionally with others. It is more than merely a confidence-building exercise. Learning how to make friendships is something that will help young people gain and understand the skills necessary for interacting with others that they will need throughout their lives. Understanding facial expressions and body language, adjusting to new social situations, and even taking part in organized or freestyle activities with others – these abilities are all essential for daily life.
Some of the methods used to help children and teens prepare for social interaction include learning how to start and interact with basic conversations. This will help them learn the give and take necessary to be part of communication. Role-playing is something that can be done to give them a basic idea of what to expect, but it can only go so far without real experience to back it up. The online networking community at All Friends Network is designed to give kids and teens the opportunity to interact in new ways and learn how to make friends safely at home online. In addition to web-based opportunities, real-life outings and social events are being planned and will be held as soon as there is enough membership volume to support gatherings. Training videos, small seminars, and one-on-one sessions for members are also in the works to provide skill-building support.
Join the Online Networking Community
If you are interested in learning more about All Friends Network or would like to get on our mailing list to hear news and important updates about all of the new features, opportunities, and other programs in development, contact our team directly. You can reach us via email at email@example.com, use our handy online contact form, or call us on the phone at 941-587-7172.