The Basics About Individualized Education PlansJune 14, 2016
When Having a Parent Named as a Guardian is AppropriateJune 14, 2016
All parents want their children
to develop meaningful friendships, not only with teachers and family members, but also with their peers. This can be difficult enough to accomplish with children who do not have disabilities
but who may feel shy or rejected by their peer groups. However, children with special needs are even more likely to have difficulty in forming true and lasting friendships.
Special needs children come in all shapes and sizes and with a variety of physical or mental limitations that may make it difficult for them to communicate with their peers or take part in many types of physical activities. In addition, they are often separated from their peers in schools as they follow individualized educational plans. Their extracurricular activities are typically tailored to their needs. Indeed, it can be difficult for special needs children to have much contact with their peers in a school environment.
- However, parents can start by sitting down with their children’s teachers to find out which students, if any, take the time to reach out to their children. The teacher sees how all the students interact together on a daily basis. Parents can then set up play dates or other activities for their children with one or two of the classmates.
- Parents should always be mindful of their children’s limitations. Play dates should not tax their children’s physical or mental capabilities. Initially, some children may benefit the most from an activity that does not require as much social interaction, such as watching a movie.
- In addition, parents should not overlook the benefits of looking for friends for their children outside the peer group. Many children benefit greatly from spending time with children who are older than they are or even with friendly adults, such as grown cousins. These people can help to give special needs children the confidence they need to interact with their peers.
Several other opportunities exist for special needs children who are looking for support and friendship. Support groups can be found around the country for families struggling with a variety of disabilities. Here, children will be able to meet others who are going through the same struggles that they are. In addition, community service events are great for helping children feel that they are getting involved in something meaningful while letting them interact with individuals of all ages.