If you never make an effort to get out there and meet new people to make friends, it will never happen. Sitting at home and only interacting with family members or neighbors will never lead to new opportunities to have the life you have always wanted. Dreaming about seeing your favorite team play at the ballpark with a best friend, wishing you could meet someone who loves video games like you do, or hoping you might find that one person who gets you more than anyone else can’t happen if you never take the first step. Friendships are important but learning how to make friends when you don’t have a lot of practice can be hard. Making friends with cerebral palsy also comes with its own stumbling blocks, especially if you have felt rejected, ignored, or have had bad experiences in the past. It is crucial to overcome those negative feelings if you want the benefits of friends.
Finding a Safe Environment
People with disabilities of any kind are at a high risk of being bullied. This includes those with physical, sensory, emotional, and developmental disabilities. Certain factors can increase the risk, but those who have been on the receiving end of such negative and hurtful behavior will often have difficulties finding the strength to try making friends again in the future. All Friends Network was created to be a safe environment for those who have developmental disabilities have the opportunities and resources necessary to make friends. Friendships are important and can play a vital role in gaining the confidence and self-esteem necessary to have a more independent life. The benefits of friends are many, but the first step is often finding a way to overcome concerns about meeting new people.
All Friends Network is for anyone who has cerebral palsy, autism, or other developmental disabilities, with a concentration of young adults. It can be more challenging for young adults to get out there and make friends, as there aren’t many opportunities for them to meet new people in a safe environment. Our online networking, resources, and programs can help you gain the confidence necessary to make friends with cerebral palsy. Our new Live-LINK social network app can provide you with the tools necessary to chat with others and make new friends on your mobile device. Our website members area and social network app are limited to members only, which means that non-members are not able to interact with our members through these social tools. A safe environment can make it easier and less stressful to begin talking with new people to forge new friendships.
Another reason why children and young adults with developmental disabilities may be reluctant to try and make new friendships is because of the potential perceived differences that they have with others. Even making friends with cerebral palsy may be stressful due to the many differences that individuals have concerning their unique degree of disability. Individuals who have cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other neurological conditions may also have difficulties with speech and physical coordination. Concerns about fitting in, being able to communicate effectively, or fears based on past experiences can hold them back from participating, even in a safe environment.
Individuals who are on the autism spectrum or have challenges posed by ADHD or Tourette’s may have difficulty with social interactions, as well. Sensitivities, including sensory, as well as impulses, behavioral regulation, and communication, can be stumbling blocks as friendship-making skills are learned. There are many other developmental disabilities that can also make it difficult for children and young adults to feel confident in their abilities. Practicing social skills in a group environment has proven to be successful. Trips to the local museums, aquariums, and zoos, as well as group pizza parties, days at the beach, and large-scale sporting events hosted in a group seating area, can also be helpful building blocks to enjoy the benefits of friends and growing friendships.
Join All Friends Network
If you are interested in learning more about why friendships are important or expanding social skills to make friends with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, contact our team by calling 941-587-7172. We can answer any questions you might have about All Friends Network, Live-LINK, or our planned group activities and assist you in joining our exclusive membership program.