Sometimes, all it takes is for an opportunity to present itself that provides you with the means to change your life. These opportunities can come in a variety of forms, such as a group activity, an event, a chance meeting, or taking the initiative, being bold, and putting yourself out there. When you have developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or autism, you might feel as though you are left out of a lot of things that other people take for granted. Participating in community events, learning how to make friends, going on trips, getting a job, or any number of individual goals may seem out of reach at this stage in your life. All Friends Network was created to be a resource and opportunity for those with developmental disabilities to meet new people and make friends. Open to people of all ages, with a focus on young adults, All Friends Network has online, app-based, and real-life options to help you achieve your friendship and social goals.
How to Make Friends & Gain Independence
Studies show that the more we encourage each other to get out and make new friends, the more likely we are to become more independent and live the life that we want. This is true of all people, not just those with developmental disabilities. Learning how to make friends, have conversations with other people, and make real connections can help people to get a job, communicate better with others, and learn to live more independently. Overcoming fears, concerns about rejection, and past experiences can be a huge stumbling block. However, when you find a safe space that allows you to build your confidence, network with others who have similar backgrounds and interests, and participate in group activities, it can get a lot easier.
In addition to our online resources for members and Live-LINK social network for young adults, All Friends Network also has sponsored planned activities to help bring everyone together for friend-making opportunities. Finding a common bond with others is a great building block for making friendships that will last a lifetime. What do you like to do? There are so many activities that people with developmental disabilities can do, even if they also have physical limitations. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Olmstead Decision of 1999, which reaffirmed the prohibition of discrimination against individuals who have disabilities, accessibility is now more available for participation in activities than ever before. Zoos, aquariums, sporting facilities, and even outdoor spaces, such as nature centers and parks.
Why Friendships are Important
There are many benefits associated with learning how to make friends and participating in group events through organizations like All Friends Network. Studies show that people with developmental disabilities and other types of disabilities who participate in community and group events can overcome feelings of isolation or being unwanted. By providing access to activities and services that allow them to participate with others, they can build practical life skills that can lead to a more fulfilling and independent life. Having the opportunity to engage with others and discover common interests through a social network for young adults and individuals of all ages can provide real-life experiences to develop appropriate social behaviors.
Once these skills are learned, they can be used in many other settings and situations. The basic idea of learning how to make friends and start conversations with others can open doors to finding an occupation, joining other groups, and participating in events with nondisabled peers. A diverse and welcoming community is what we should all aim for in life. Group events and community programs can engage those with developmental disabilities and provide opportunities for participating in local gatherings, entertainment events, jobs, and educational programs that they might otherwise pass up without encouragement. Community sports leagues, hobby clubs, group events, volunteering, visiting local museums and venues, participating in faith-based groups, taking advantage of educational opportunities, and visiting local parks and nature centers are just some of the benefits that can come from learning how to make friends and grow confident in social skills. To learn more about All Friends Network or to join our membership, contact our team by calling 941-587-7172 or emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.