Helping Your Special Needs Child Make Friends-Tips for Parents

Helping Your Special Needs Child Make Friends

Helping Your Special Needs Child Make Friends

It’s not easy for some children to make friends. Even the most sociable children will eventually struggle to find meaningful relationships in life. Now, imagine what this is like for special needs children. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, finding friends for your son or daughter will present unique challenges.

Enrolling your child in a special needs school will certainly make things easier. 

A specialized staff will serve as your allies. Your child will be surrounded by others with disabilities. You should still expect such a school to prepare him or her for an independent life, beyond school. Also, do not give up on the possibility of friendships with children who do not have special needs.
Helping your child develop friends can be frustrating and challenging. But with patience and some of the points listed below, there is hope. Just keep the following in mind:

  • Communicate with the child study team. At IEP meetings, a team comprised of teachers, parents and a child study team convene to develop, review and/or revise the IEP document. The IEP is also known as the Individualized Education Plan. This will be the foundation of your child’s education. Regarding making friends, the first item discussed in the meeting should be ‘Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.’ One of the major areas of development covered will be social skills or making friends. Along with behavior and communication skills, this will hopefully build a better foundation for finding future friends.
  • Be prepared for the play date. These get togethers will not always require so much structure or supervision. Still, at first, you should be involved. Control the environment. If you know your child can only handle one hour of play, do not schedule a three-hour play date. If your child is unable to verbalize his or her preference, you may have to schedule the activities. Be mindful of moods, help to avoid argument and simply create a pleasant experience. You want there to be future get togethers!
  • Throw a party! If you’re feeling particularly bold, have a birthday party and invite all the classmates. This would give you the opportunity to observe who sits next to the birthday child. When the rest of the kids run off to an activity, take note of any child who makes sure the birthday boy or girl is included.
  • Find a furry friend. While not a substitute for friendship with peers, the unconditional love of a furry companion is something all children should experience. Taking care of a pet also tends to foster responsibility and empathy.

​The most important thing is to not get discouraged.

Rejection may be a part of life for any child, but it can hit especially hard for children with special needs, as well as their parents. Some parents are not comfortable or otherwise equipped to have special needs children around their own. You can always derive hope from knowing that children will always be better at seeing others and accepting them for who they are. Accept no less from the child who befriends yours.

Monica principal alpha School New Jersey Special Needs School

Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey

Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.

— Monica DeTuro, Principal-Alpha School, Jackson, NJ

About RKS Associates

At all the RKS Schools we pride ourselves in discovery the hidden treasures of all of our students. Our academic and support services are appropriately customized for a student unique and diverse needs so that they can reach their full potential.

Alpha School is part of special needs network of schools located in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County New Jersey. Since 1980 the RKS Associates schools have been leaders in helping special needs helping students with various disabilities including autism, Down's syndrome, communication, learning, social, behavioral and emotional disabilities. The range of services RKS schools provide is academic instruction and speech, occupational and physical therapies. In addition to Life Skills, Technology, and a full complement of Support Services.

network of special ed schools in NJ