Does your child struggle to form friendships?
Our therapists tell me many of our parents are concerned that their children don’t have friends. It’s true that many of our kids struggle with social skills. They are often less mature than their age mates, and that can make other kids feel less comfortable.
Talk To Them
If you see your child struggling with friends and social skills, we always recommend that your first step should be to talk to them. Ask them what is going on at school. Ask them if there are particular kids that they would like to be friends with and if there is anything you can do to help that work better.
Here at Cutting Edge, we have been talking about creating a social media platform where parents can connect with other parents who have children with similar interests and arrange playdates. Look out for this in the coming year!
We have several kids who have become friends here at Cutting Edge. Due to HIPAA restrictions, we cannot say that they are friends which is why we want to create a platform where we are not involved in the process. Instead, you can meet the other child’s parent and agree to have a playdate.
Friends With Different Abilities
There are many ways you can help your child find friends, and they don’t all have to be friends “just like them.” We parents seem to have more of a need to separate the groups, keeping special needs kids with other special needs kids, kids with autism with other kids with autism, and neurotypical kids with other neurotypical kids. In mixed classrooms, however, we find kids who love helping other kids, and want to make that connection with your child! When I was in school I had special needs kids in my classes. My special needs sons had neurotypical kids in their classes. We serve a wide range of kids here, from very low-functioning kids to very high-functioning kids. Friendships can develop no matter the level of function.
Social Skills Groups
Another way we help to facilitate friendships is by offering social skills groups throughout the year. In our social skills groups, we address skills like how to initiate a conversation, or how to realize when a friend is done talking to us. You and I do these things easily, but our kids struggle with them.
Ask Your Child’s Therapist
Your therapist is a great resource to talk to about how to go about helping your child with their social skills. When we do therapy here, your kids are engaging with other kids. If your therapist tells you that your child does have a deficit and they’re not yet in speech therapy, I urge you to listen to them. You don’t want to wait too long to intervene. Early intervention is better.
Your Next Step
So if you find that your child struggles to make friends, know that you are not alone and neither are they. Talk to your therapist for ideas, and stay tuned for our new social media platform in the coming year!