Importance of friendships for children with learning disabilities and ADHD
Parents need to understand the importance of friendships for children with learning disabilities and ADHD. Friendships are one of the first significant relationships your child develops on their own outside the family and where they learn how to interact with others and exchange meaningful communication. They learn to accommodate others’ temperaments and learn how to agree and disagree. Forming and maintaining friendships is a big part of life and that of a child’s experience in school.
Friends have a significant effect on your child’s social development. Importance of friendships can be understood by the fact that friends can meet many of your child’s social and emotional needs, including companionship, feeling safe and feeling good about themselves. Friends give them a sense of belonging and being included, and, above all, they teach them about intimacy, affection, and loyalty.
School-aged children tend to develop friendships based on specific similarities, like gender, age, residential proximity, etc. In adolescences, shared interests, like music, dressing, food and attitudes, determine the kind of friends they have. Friendships in childhood often develop during school or extracurricular activities. Developing strong and healthy peer relationships is as important as fulfilling academic goals, and while it may come naturally to many, it may be harder for some children.
Challenges children with learning disabilities and ADHD face in making friends
Many children with learning disabilities or ADHD may not have any problem when it comes to making friends. However, some other children may have a hard time doing it. As a parent, it must be painful for you to see your child not getting invited to birthday parties or play-dates or that your child has no one to talk to. You wonder about the importance of friendships and how you can help them in making friends.
Parents must first understand why making friends is a challenge for their child and understand how you can help in the next section.
Here are some of the possible reasons:
- Their social communication and interpersonal skills are not well developed. For example, during a conversation, they might have trouble contributing, or they may start talking about something other than the topic of discussion and fail to notice that the other children have lost interest and are tuning out.
- They are shy or under-confident because of their learning difficulties.
- They have low self-esteem because of poor academic or school experience and may even have faced bullying in school.
- They are often pulled out of the class for remedial (special education needs) sessions and, therefore, do not get enough time to interact with peers in the classroom.
- They do not participate in extracurricular events or activities outside of school as much.