Friendship and Disability: Why It Is Important to Make Friends

There are some things in life that make us more alike than others. The psychological benefits of having long-term friendships is definitely one of them. It doesn’t matter if you have friends with cerebral palsy, autism, or no developmental disabilities at all. A common interest can create a lifelong bond that will help you in ways that you simply cannot imagine. The goal of All Friends Network is to help our members to overcome issues with friendship and disability so they can discover the benefits of making friends. We all need someone to laugh, cry, and share our innermost thoughts with, but it can be scary to be so open and vulnerable with someone, especially if you have a disability. Our network is designed to be a “safe space” for members who want to connect with others online and in real life. We know how important friendships can be and how challenging it can be to make and maintain them.

The Benefits of Making Friends

While there are some advantages associated with friendships that are rather obvious, such as preventing loneliness and depression, others might not be as clear. Studies have been done about the benefits of having a true and trusted friend, not just mere acquaintances or close relatives within the family. Friendship and disability might seem impossible, especially if you have a degree of disability that makes it difficult for you to go out into the world on your own. Online networking, an interactive members-only app (Live-LINK), and planned real-world events are just part of what we are preparing for our members at All Friends Network.

Making friends can help a person to:

  • Increase happiness
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Boost feelings of self-worth
  • Cope with personal traumas
  • Encourage healthy lifestyles and habits
  • Provide feelings of security
  • Ease the impact of emotional challenges
  • Increase a sense of belonging and purpose in life

Hanging Out with Friends

There are a few different ways that people “hang out” together in these modern times. While in-person get-togethers are a lot of fun and an ideal way for friends with cerebral palsy and autism to bond, it is not always practical. Continued concerns about COVID-19 and other issues may prevent individuals from attending real-life events on a regular basis. Many friendships are formed via video chat, texting, app conversations, email, phone calls, and via other types of technology. This can be a real advantage to those who are still learning how to feel comfortable in the presence of others, as they can practice their conversational skills from the comfort of their own homes.

Sometimes just sitting there together via video chat or while talking via text and watching a movie “together” from a distance is enough to enhance a friendship. Shared experiences don’t necessarily have to be in-person, especially if there are obstacles to doing so. The reason why you and the other person are working on building a friendship is that you likely have some things in common. This could be playing video games online together and talking via headsets or discussing hobbies and other interests through an app chatroom. Friendship is about give and take, so even if your new friend wants to try communicating in a way that you aren’t familiar with, you should give it a chance. All Friends Network aims to create safe methods for enjoying the benefits of making friends without all of the risks.

Online Resources & Support

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of lifelong friendship and disability or want to learn how to make friends with cerebral palsy, autism, or other developmental disabilities, contact All Friends Network directly. We can answer any questions you might have about the mission of our organization, the benefits of making friends and point you in the direction of our online resources and support. Located in Sarasota, Florida, our goal is to connect people of all ages with developmental disabilities together to forge lifelong friendships. If this sounds like a good idea to you, too, give us a call at 941-587-7172 or contact us directly via our website.