Does your child find it difficult to make friends? Are they lacking genuine friendships with their peers, or are they lonely? Our Friends Finder group is the solution you may be searching for.
Navigating the social world can be perplexing for the best of us. With a disability, this challenge can become extremely difficult and even daunting. The skills needed to find and maintain friends do not always come easily. Sometimes children need an extra helping hand.
So we created Friends Finder!
Friends Finder is a platform that allows parents to connect their child with others to provide opportunities for their child to form genuine, meaningful friendships with others.
With Friends Finder, you have the opportunity to create a private profile about your child’s interests, sensitivities, likes and dislikes and communicative capacities. Autism Adelaide will help to match your child with another child, taking into account your child’s interests and needs.
A therapist will coordinate a smooth introduction by engaging in a collaborative discussion with both families to develop clear understandings around both children and carefully plan a successful introduction.
We understand that we can’t make friends for our children, or make our children like each other. Which is why we have a therapist to help facilitate each play session; guiding play and interactions, teaching core skills and supporting the resolution of any potential communication or engagement breakdowns between the children.
Your therapist may also help to aid with communication barriers or provide communication support between children who have language delays or use alternative communication supports or devices.
And, while the kids are building new skills through interactive play, you get to relax, enjoy the break, grab a coffee and have a chat.
We recognise that sometimes friendship skills need practice. Which is why we offer continued support through the friendship building sessions with a therapist.
The real purpose of Friends Finder is to give your child a sense of belonging by encouraging and supporting them to develop and maintain meaningful friendships. Developing these friendships not only establishes a sense of belonging but allows children to build foundational skills of sharing, empathy, perspective-taking, understanding non-verbal cues and practising conversational and social skills that embody friendship.
One of the most common myths regarding children and teenagers with developmental disabilities exists today: they don’t want friends. But nothing is further from the truth. They do want friends. Who doesn’t? It can be difficult for children with disabilities to express this and how to go about it.
By encouraging your child to develop healthy relationships with friends instils confidence and helps them navigate through their social world, shaping emotional and long term intellectual growth and wellbeing.