Children with disabilities or learning difficulties often feel socially isolated and have more difficulty making friends with schoolmates than other children. But all children with special educational needs should not feel hopeless about making friends. They can also develop key social skills to have as many friends as any other child.
WHY CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES HAVE DIFFICULTY MAKING FRIENDS
Children with disabilities or learning difficulties often find it difficult to make friends because they have low self-esteem, because they worry about what others think, because it is difficult for them to express themselves or have a good reasoning that allows them to develop social keys, because they have a limited interaction with others, because they lack resources or because they choose not to participate in after-school activities because they have limited interests
Children with disabilities or learning difficulties may be troubled by the idea of having few friends. Parents can help these children to overcome their fears and to be able to make new friends with a few steps to follow.
OVERCOME THE FRIENDSHIP CHALLENGE
Parents can expose children to various strategies to help them make friends. They can take turns role-playing the strategies before school or before social events.
When possible, parents should be nearby so children can refer to them for reminders and additional help. Alternatively, parents can make plans to talk with the children afterward to discuss how things went. Above all, parents need to stay positive and teach children that making friends is a skill anyone can learn with practice.
Offering a friendly smile is a good idea for children to learn to make friends regardless of their condition. You can have a new person smile every day. You don’t have to say anything or do anything but smile, even in passing. If the other children don’t smile back, don’t mind, just look away. At the end of the day, ask him what he remembers about the children he saw and smiled.
Do you know what those kids are called? Do you remember what they were wearing? The purpose of this activity is to encourage your child to recognize others, smile, and observe characteristics about them. Once your child is comfortable smiling at new people, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Teach your child to smile and greet others. Make sure your child doesn’t need to speak to say hello unless they are comfortable doing so. At the end of the day you can ask him to tell you what happened after the greeting. Again, if others don’t respond to your greeting, your child doesn’t need to do anything other than move on to another activity. When he’s comfortable, move him to the next step.
START A CONVERSATION
Teach your child to smile, wave, and start a conversation. Get him to smile, say hello, and comment to at least one new person every day. Practice your comments ahead of time so your child is ready to speak appropriately. He can ask students how their day is going, talk about the weather, class activities, or supplement their class work or other positive statements about the person with whom he is speaking. When your child is comfortable with this, move on to the next step.
ASK POLITE QUESTIONS
Teach your child to ask politely. Asking others about themselves is a way for your child to get to know them and seek common interests and thus forge new friendships. Teach your child what to do so that others talk about themselves and thus, they will feel better and more valued, something that can undoubtedly make others approach your child in the form of friendship.