How special needs students can get involved with peers

October 1, 2016

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It can be tough for any child to meet new friends and form relationships with classmates, but it’s especially challenging for special needs children. If your special needs child is having trouble getting involved with his or her peers, follow these tips:

Find a support group

Talk to your child’s school guidance counselor to see if he knows of any support groups where your child can meet other special needs children. When they get the opportunity to meet children who face similar challenges, they begin to feel more positive and comfortable with their own limitations. Surrounding your child with this support can help him or her stay motivated and upbeat during the challenging school years.

Participate in school activities

Does your child’s school have after school activities? Most schools will offer children the chance to participate in different groups, such as math or drama clubs, or sign up for a sports team. Find something that speaks to your special needs child and sign him or her up. When classmates share a hobby or interest with special needs children, this breaks down a lot of the barriers and stereotypes that exist between the two groups.

Talk to the teachers

Make sure your special needs child is not being treated any differently than other students in the classroom by talking to his or her teacher. If classmates notice the teacher is paying special attention to your child or allowing your child to get away with things that are off limits, this can lead to conflict. Nip it in the bud by making sure all of your child’s teachers understand how your child should be treated in the classroom.

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Join play groups

If your special needs child is young, it may be helpful to join a local play group outside of school. This can help your child meet kids outside of the classroom and develop crucial social skills that will help him or her build relationships at school. This could also help you meet other parents in the community who would be open to arranging play dates in the future.

Talk to your special needs child

As you help your child make these efforts to form relationships with their peers, it’s important that you have a discussion with your child about conversations that may arise. Your child’s peers may ask about his or her physical or mental condition without even realizing that it could be a sensitive subject. Kids have no filter, and aren’t trained to know what’s appropriate and what’s not, so you have to prepare your special needs child. Make sure he or she knows how to answer any questions peers may have and tell your child to never be ashamed of who he or she is or what special needs he or she has.

Remember, going to school and being around other children can be intimidating or overwhelming for some special needs children. Be sure to talk with your child openly and honestly as you introduce these changes slowly into his or her life.


gwenGwen Lewis is a writer who lives in California. She has been in the makeup and fashion industry for years and loves writing on the topic to give tips from experience. In her free time she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to surf.

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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