Making friends and participating in recreational activities is important for your child-just as it is for all children. You may have to work a little harder to make sure your child has these opportunities. Here are some suggestions that may help your child with making friends:
  • Meet other families in your neighborhood and at your child's school. Attend school events such as open houses, parent meetings, and other school functions.
  • Invite children and their families to play and do things together. Ask them to come to your home or suggest an activity, like going to the library or a park. While the children play, you can enjoy a few minutes to talk with other parents.
  • Talk to your child about what it means to be a friend. Encourage your child to introduce him or herself, smile, and shake hands.
  • Work with your child's teachers to help your child develop friendships in school.
  • Participate in community recreation programs. Work with staff at the program to develop and carry out any accommodations your child might need.

Your child may want to connect with another child or adult who has a similar disability. Many Arcs host support groups and activities for children and youth with special needs.

Check the Arcs, Recreation / Arts, Camps, and Community Support and Parent Networks sections of the Family TIES Resource Directory to find more information on recreational programs for your child.

Some Internet sites host online communities where children with special needs can talk about their experiences, share ideas, and support each other.Take a look at:

  • Starbright World, an on-line community of over 30,000 kids with chronic illnesses.
  • Club Bravekids, a website for kids growing up with chronic illness.
  • Partners for Youth with Disabilities has an on-line mentoring program, as well as other individual and group mentoring programs.