All kids want friends. But it’s not always easy for children with special needs to find meaningful friendships with other kids. Some children are shunned because of physical differences and others have social or communication deficits that make it difficult to start and keep friendships.
As a parent of a child who uses a wheelchair to get around and is non-verbal, it has always been a challenge. Here are some suggestions that have helped. Ask your child’s teacher. The teacher sees which child in the classroom goes out of their way to approach your child. Invite classmates to your child’s birthday party. This is a great opportunity for you to observe children interacted with your child. Set up individual play dates. This allows you to talk openly about your child’s disability, let them ask questions, and help ease any fears or curiosities they may have. Invite the family of a child with special needs to join your family on a family date. Lastly, check out clubs or recreational activities where to have a chance to chat with moms and dads and meet families that share in your own family’s interests.
Keep in mind that during your search in finding friends for your child, you may run into rejection. Try not to take it personally and move on. Be encouraged that you can and will find that special child who appreciates your child for who they are.
Has making friends been a challenge for your child? As children get older it may get hard or easier. What has your experience been like?