Making Friends: Social Network for Developmental Disabilities

While most humans are naturally very social creatures, not everyone has the skills necessary to develop friendships. This is true of everyone, regardless of their culture, background, abilities, or disabilities. Learning how to make and keep friends is something that must be taught and practiced throughout life. Friendship has many benefits, providing the individual with a sense of belonging. Children, teens, and young adults with disabilities can gain even more rewards from building friendships. Simply playing together, being in the same classroom, or hanging out at a group gathering does not make two people become friends. This is why acquiring the social skills necessary to create and grow friendships can be difficult, especially for those who have developmental disabilities.

All Friends Network

Many turn to group activities or arranged play dates to try and make friends for their children, but that’s still not the same thing as an individual making and maintaining friendships on their own. All Friends Network is an organization designed specifically for people of all ages with developmental disabilities. Think about it as a sort of autistic friends network or a place to meet friends with cerebral palsy. The point is, there are lots of other people who also have disabilities who need an online support network that will help them learn how to make friends and interact with others like themselves. These experiences can help to build friendship-making skills and confidence that can be used in other situations. Skills like these can last a lifetime.

Studies show that the ability to initiate new friendships and maintain close relationships over the span of many years is very different than someone who is popular. People who are popular are liked and accepted by a larger group of people based on various types of criteria. However, when it comes to real friendships, there are more layers that need to be understood and assessed in order to determine if someone would make a good friend. This is true for children, teens, young adults, and even older adults. Conversational and social skills, as well as the ability to understand nonverbal cues, can help young people learn how to choose appropriate friends. Being a good friend is also an underappreciated quality by many but is something that can help to strengthen a person’s core values and help them be a better all-around person.

Sharing, Humor, and Other Friend Qualities

Having a friend outside of the family can be a doorway into a whole new world of experiences that can be built on to create a more diverse and well-rounded life. Learning social skills like the appropriate use of humor, how to join in on a conversation, how to be a good sport, and how to avoid negative interactions is extremely beneficial. Some of those negative behaviors include bullying, gossiping, teasing, or being a bad sport. Expanding your experiences beyond people who have known you all your life can be character-building in a very positive way. Finding a safe and secure way to do that, to meet others via a social network for developmental disabilities, provides a safety net that can sometimes be essential.

All Friends Network offers people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to meet and make friends. If you are looking to find friends with cerebral palsy or autism that you can share experiences with or that will understand your own unique challenges, AFN may be the online support network for you. In addition to activities, outings, and other planned events, we also offer online educational training videos, small seminars, and one on one sessions for our All Friends Network members. Our goal is to offer programs primarily for young adults but also to have activities and benefits for younger and older AFN members.

Get Updates Concerning AFN

If you would like to learn more about All Friends Network or would like to get updates about our online membership and social network for developmental disabilities, give us a call at 941-587-7172. You can also use our online contact form to reach out to one of our team members or contact us via email at info@allfriendsnetwork.org. Sign up for FREE updates regarding upcoming events and activities within our online support network to learn about opportunities to make friends with cerebral palsy or autism.