Social Engagement Opportunities: Making Friends with Disabilities

social engagement opportunitiesIf you have a developmental disability like cerebral palsy or autism, it might be difficult to find places to socialize and make friends. As one ages, the situation becomes more challenging, especially for those who are already out of school or live in a remote area without a lot of opportunities. This is true for practically everyone, regardless of their ability. To encourage people with cerebral palsy and autism to engage in online and offline activities that may aid in the creation of friendships, All Friends Network was created. Members-only and secure, our Live-LINK social app connects people who have same interests and goals and provide a welcoming environment in which to make new acquaintances. Studies demonstrate that social engagement advantages can be considerable for persons who have developmental disabilities, encouraging them to live more independent lives and build confidence in speaking with others.

The Fundamentals of Friendship

There are a few reasons why children have an easier time making friends among adults. One reason is that they have never faced the kind of rejection that may come from people who just don’t get it when someone has a handicap. One reason is that they are more likely to encounter people who share their interests when they are in structured environments like school or a club. When two people discover they share a same passion, hobby, background, or even profession, they often become fast friends. It’s for this reason that individuals often refer to their “school friends,” “work friends,” “sports friends,” “church friends,” and “other friends” when discussing the people they know. People who share a shared interest, such as those who attend comic conventions, gaming tournaments, sporting events, or religious groups, are more likely to become fast friends.

The hardest aspect of trying to develop lasting connections is figuring out how to build off that common ground. The key to building on the connection formed during the initial spark of friendship is to foster and strengthen the tie, possibly by conversing online, over the phone, meeting in person, or attending other social events. Every member of All Friends Network has the chance to expand their social circle. Our members have access to a variety of tools, including online conversations, our Live-LINK social app, in-person events, and curated content geared toward honing their social skills. AFN’s goal is to aid persons of all ages who have developmental challenges in establishing meaningful connections.

Overcoming Developmental Disabilities

Recent estimates place the number of Americans with disabilities at about 61 million, or roughly one in four of the population. Many of them, sadly, experience actual or perceived exclusion from such things as local communities, jobs, clubs, and friendships. However, research shows that the benefits of social interaction for people with developmental disabilities are worth fighting for. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be allowed to take part in activities to the same extent as everyone else. People with disabilities should be actively encouraged to take part in community life by being given equal access to and included in activities at community centers, schools, neighborhoods, religious congregations, companies, and event centers.

Whether it’s here at All Friends Network or back in your own neighborhood, becoming involved in your community can do wonders for your sense of belonging and self-esteem. Having the freedom to choose and select the activities you engage in and the people you associate with can help you move closer to your objectives. Members of our cerebral palsy and autistic friends network will have access to information and activities designed to help them experience these advantages of social interaction. Making an effort to expand one’s social circle may help anybody, whether they still reside at home with their parents or are fully independent, have a happier and busier life.

Making Friends in Real Life

The best thing to do if you want to take advantage of social activity benefits for developmental disabilities is to contact our team. We can answer any questions you might have about our organization and assist you in signing up for our free programs. Visit our website or give us a call at 941-587-7172 to find out more about the services we provide at AFN. If you have any concerns regarding our membership requirements or the activities and resources we offer both in person and online, please feel free to contact us.