Helping Children with Special Needs Make Friends. Many children with special needs have great difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships. This post is brought to you by Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
For most children, heading back to school is a joyous occasion. Although they may grumble about the end of summer, overall most are excited to catch up with friends and share stories about their summer adventures. As soon as teacher assignments are sent home, most kids reach out to their friends to see who will share a classroom with them.
Unfortunately, for some kids heading back to school can make them feel upset and anxious. Many children with special needs have great difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships. This can result in the child missing out on building meaningful relationships at school. Social skills do not come naturally to children who have autism, ADHD and other developmental disabilities, which makes having friends hard.
If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you play an integral part in your child’s life. Fortunately, many of the skills that your child may be lacking can be taught. A great way to help your child build their conversation skills is by learning what their special interest is. Many children with special needs are quite passionate about specific topics such as animals, cars, or even geography.
By discovering your child’s special interest, you can help them seek out other kids that have similar interests. At the start of the school year, make your child’s teacher aware of their special interest. Their teacher will be able to identify children that may be a good match for your child. The more information you provide them with, the easier it will be for them to motivate your child and help them cultivate friendships.
Helping Children with Special Needs Make Friends
If you are a parent that has concerns about your child’s development, the Autism Spectrum Disorders Service at the Child Study Center can help. As part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, they specialize in identifying social and communication difficulties in children as young as 12 months old. They offer evidence-based treatments that help children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and other social challenges improve social skills.
Make your goal for the upcoming school year, the goal of friendship. The power of friendship is a vital key to your child’s development. Just having one or two friends can increase your child’s self-esteem, confidence, and independence. The Autism Spectrum Disorders Service at the Child Study Center can help your child develop the skills necessary to lead a fulfilled and productive life. And always remember, you and your child never have to feel alone in your journey!
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