Finding & Encouraging Friendships: Adults with Cerebral Palsy

Friendships can really make life worth living. Even when bad things happen, emotions are all over the place, and disappointments occur, friends can help make you feel better about yourself and your situation. Studies have been done concerning friendship and depression. It proved that encouraging friendships and building lifelong relationships is the real key to happiness. Developing social skills when you have a developmental disability can be hard. Adults with cerebral palsy may find it challenging to learn how to make and keep friendships because of their disabilities. Involuntary movements, not being able to walk without help, and speech impediments, as well as common issues with autism and autistic-like symptoms, can be challenging to overcome.

Friends With and Without Disabilities

Just because you have cerebral palsy does not mean you should limit yourself to only making friends who also have the same developmental disorder. However, on the other hand, it does not mean that you shouldn’t also network with and forge friendships with other adults with cerebral palsy. Friendships are often based on a common interest, experience, or background, so if you can find someone who shares your love of sci-fi films and cheesy nachos who also has cerebral palsy, you might have just hit the jackpot! The best way to work on developing social skills and making friends with and without disabilities is to join groups or sign-up for situations where socializing can occur.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What would you like in a friend, and why should someone want you for a friend? Do you have any hobbies or interests that might make for a fun topic of discussion? Do you have any activities that you like to participate in that might make for an excellent opportunity to meet other like-minded people? Sometimes the best way to get people to see you for who you are instead of just seeing your disability is to accept yourself and learn how to be yourself with others. Let your personality, sense of humor, and intelligence shine through so no one sees your wheelchair, walker, or involuntary movements any longer. Learn to lean on your strengths and find others who appreciate you for who you are right now. This is the best way to find friendships that will stand the test of time.

Overcoming Emotional Issues

For many adults with cerebral palsy, the primary issues that impact them emotionally are the same ones that can hold them back from encouraging friendships with others outside their own family or community circle. Most of the emotional stress and effects of cerebral palsy have more to do with feeling alone, misunderstood, or unable to do the things that the person wants to do. Issues with lack of friendship and depression are common, as well as outbursts of anger, withdrawn behaviors, and other displays of anxiety. Developing social skills and putting yourself out there to meet new people can help you to overcome these common issues and have a better life for yourself. There are many young adults with cerebral palsy who are in loving relationships, have best friends, and go out to social gatherings with groups of friends on a regular basis.

Depending on the degree of a person’s disability, they may or may not be able to participate in certain activities. All Friends Network offers our members the opportunity to participate in online communications via our website or Live-LINK members-only app, as well as to attend in-person events. Studies reveal a direct correlation between making friends and independence for individuals with cerebral palsy, so if independence is what you want for your life, learning how to make friends is a good place to start. Making friends means having someone who will be there for you on the best day of your life and the worst. Encouraging friendships and learning how to keep friendships is something that all adults struggle with, whether they have developmental disabilities or not. To learn more about joining All Friends Network and our planned in-person events and online support resources, browse our website, contact us through the website, or give us a call at 941-587-7172.