For teenagers with special needs, making friends and having relationships can be trickier than for other teenagers.
This might be because of communication or learning difficulties, mobility issues, or not being able to travel independently. Plus certain experiences at school or college can affect young people’s access to friends and leisure outside school. National research has found that many young disabled people experience isolation, loneliness and exclusion.
We might have to do a lot to support our children’s social life and help them meet new people or maintain friendships. Sometimes we even have to share our friends with our children because of the difficulties they face making their own friendships. But however difficult it might seem to manage, experience tells us that it’s always worth making the effort to help our young people develop and maintain friendships as they can provide more support and advice than whole teams of professionals.
You can read lots of advice and tips about friendships and relationships in Chapter 4 of our Through the Next Maze handbook. It offers advice about where your child might make and meet friends; what happens in puberty and how to explain the changes to your child; sexual relationships and how to talk to your child about sex and also how to protect your child from sexual abuse.
If you have any difficulty downloading this chapter, just call our helpline on 01273 772289 and we’ll send you a copy.