It’s normal for parents to worry that their child with a disability won’t make friends easily or be accepted into a peer group. It helps to remember that the rate of social and emotional development varies widely, both for typically developing children and children with a disability.
Children who miss a lot of school because of illness, or who have a visible physical disability, might find it harder to make and keep friendships. This does not mean that friendships won’t happen. There might be other ways for your child to form friendships, such as joining community groups and online networks. Give your child lots of love and support at home. Boost confidence and self-esteem by focusing on your child’s strengths and interests.
Children might become more self-conscious in the teenage years. It might be a good idea to speak with a professional about how to help. Teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might have difficulties monitoring and expressing emotions, or difficulties with peer and social relationships. Some teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might have difficulties making and keeping friends, or have difficulties with social skills and emotions. This can impact on child-parent as well as peer relationships.
You know your child best. If you’re concerned about your child’s social skills, emotions or well-being, speak with your GP, your child’s school counselor, or another health professional.
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