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Having friends is vital for our self-esteem as we grow up. Sometimes there are obstacles to a disabled child making friends at school. For example, a child with a full-time learning assistant may enjoy little opportunity to mix with peers, or they might be excluded from leisure activities by inaccessible venues.
There are ways around these obstacles. Although it can be difficult, there is no reason to think your child can’t develop meaningful friendships with those around them.
I had a strong group of friends and I’m mobile enough to get about most places. My friends always made an effort to keep up and are well practiced at helping me dress/taking me to the loo!
We’ve gathered some tips that you can share with your child to help them make friends.
The ‘Circle of Friends’ approach was developed to help disabled children, who may be vulnerable to isolation at school, be more included in mainstream settings. A group of the young person’s friends and peers are brought together at their school with the aim of creating a support network for them.
You could ask professionals involved in your child’s care about putting these approaches in place as they grow up at school and in the community.
Bullying can happen to any child, but children with special educational needs or a disability (SEND) are more likely to be bullied. However, it is important to remember that not all children experience bullying.
Visit our bullying webpages for advice on what you and the school can do to deal with bullying.
Information about the help available in your area, from local advice organisations to parent support groups.