Finding opportunities to meet new friends and build lifelong friendships can be challenging, especially if you have developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy or autism. It gets even more complicated the older you get, especially for those who have already graduated high school. This is true for almost everyone, regardless of their abilities. All Friends Network is a cerebral palsy and autistic friends network designed to help those with developmental disabilities to participate in online and real life activities that may assist them in developing friendships. Our Live-LINK social app is for members only and is a safe space for meeting others who face similar challenges and also want to make friends. Studies show that social activity benefits can be significant for those who have developmental disabilities, helping them to live more independent lives and gain confidence in communicating with others.
How to Build Lifelong Friendships
Children are able to make friends more easily in adults for a couple of reasons. One is that they do not have experience with rejection, which can sometimes come from others who do not understand their disability. Another is that they find themselves in situations, such as school and other organized activities, where it is easier to meet new friends that have similar interests. Many friendships are built on common ground, where people have either an interest, hobby, background or even a career in common. This is why people talk about school friends, work friends, sports friends, church friends, and others that they have met in certain situations or at interest-led events. Comic conventions, gaming competitions, sports events, religious gatherings – there are all places where people can make friends more quickly because they all share something they like in common.
Building off that common ground can be the most challenging part of learning how to make friendships that will stand the test of time. Fostering and growing the bond, perhaps by talking online, over the phone, meeting up in person, or attending other social events, is key to expanding on the connection that was made during the initial spark of friendship. All Friends Network provides our members with opportunities to meet new friends and grow new friendships. Online chats, our Live-LINK social app, real-life events, and resources designed to help members practice friendship-making skills are all available in our members’ area. The mission of AFN is to help people of all ages who have developmental disabilities to focus on meeting new friends and learning how to build lifelong friendships.
Become Part of Our Community
Recent data reveals that there are more than 61 million people – that is nearly one out of every four – in the United States who are living with some sort of disability. Unfortunately, many of those people feel or are excluded from participating in their local communities, as well as employment opportunities, group activities, and social relationships. However, studies show that social activity benefits for those who have developmental disabilities are worth fighting for, as it can benefit them in many ways. Why shouldn’t you be able to participate in life experiences at the same degree as others? Community centers, schools, neighborhoods, religious congregations, workplaces, and event centers should all provide opportunities and accommodations to encourage those with disabilities to participate.
When you become a part of a community, whether it is right here with All Friends Network or at home in your own neighborhood, you gain a sense of self-worth and confidence that cannot be received in any other way. Being able to choose the experiences you want to participate in and the groups that you want to engage with is a big step toward achieving your goals. Our cerebral palsy and autistic friends network hopes to provide members with both resources and opportunities to reap these social activity benefits for themselves. Taking time to meet new friends is just one step toward a more fulfilling and active life, whether you live with family members or are already out on your own. To learn more about everything AFN has to offer, please visit our website or contact one of our team members directly by calling 941-587-7172. We can answer any questions you might have about how to become a member and give more details about the real-life events and online opportunities available to our members.