Friendships and Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs should be offered opportunities to create friendships. Some children will make friends very easily while others may need a little help from adults. Here are a couple of ideas on how to create peer interactions for children with special needs.

  • Encourage and arrange play dates
  • Organize the area in which the children will play
  • Have more than one of the same toy so children can play with the same toy, imitating and mimicking each other
  • Join in and play to keep interactions going
  • Never force friendships between children of any age or ability

“Friendship among typically developing children and children with special needs is not only possible but beneficial. With support and encouragement from adults, young children with and without disabilities can form connections that not only provide enjoyment but help promote their growth and development in multiple domains”. (, 2011)

We would love to know your  ideas on how to encourage friendships for children with special needs.

For more information on friendships and children with special needs: Peer Support for Children with Special Needs

Lori Korthals, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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2 thoughts on “Friendships and Children with Special Needs

  1. Absolutely agree with you, how about writing the other way round – ‘children should be offered the opportunity to make friends with children who have special needs’ as this suggests a more privileged position.

  2. Good idea. The point is, of course, that special needs children may require a little assistance in making friends. But then so may other children. Parents can facilitate the process for any child who is struggling to make friends.

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