October 1, 2014
An important part of childhood is the formation of friendships that help children grow and develop in positive ways.
However, if your child has special needs, he or she may have difficulty communicating or playing like other children.
How can you help your child make friends that will help him or her feel safe and happy while forming healthy friendships? We have a couple of recommendations.
- Try to keep an open calendar so that when your child is invited to an activity, he or she is available to attend. Encourage your child to meet new friends. Remind him or her that if we don’t try, we will never succeed.
- Take your child to places such as the park, neighborhood gatherings and community events. Arrange playdates with your child’s classmates or attend a children’s reading event at your local library to encourage socializing.
- Once your child has made a new friend, observe your child for comfort and non-comfort cues.
- If you notice that your child is uncomfortable or nervous, engage with him or her in the new environment with new people to help ease his or her anxieties.
- Initiate play with another child to serve as an ice breaker for your child.
- Help your child share toys, take turns and play nicely with other children.
- Sometimes, you may need to help other children understand what is different about your child since fear of the unknown starts in childhood.
- Make yourself available to answer any questions your child’s new friends may have to help them see what makes your child unique and special.