Making friends as important as the a, b, c’s

September 10, 2008 at 9:01 PM Leave a comment

Children with disabilities face a lot of challenges in their lives– be it physical, sensory, cognitive or communicative.  But one challenge that is particularly difficult to navigate is that of being and making friends.

As a parent I know it’s a priority to give my child opportunities to learn and gain as much knowledge and understanding of the world around him as I can.  I read to him, I put him in the best schools I could ,and I tried to connect him to other educational experiences.  But where does his social education fit in? 

Today’s parents have a lot on their plates with school, special education, therapy sessions, activities, sports, fitness issues etc.  But we need to acknowledge our kids’ emotional I.Q. as an important element in the mix.  Some would argue that it is more important than the others.  In fact, research has shown that children who do well socially in their elementary school years will perform better academically and have better social skills as adults.

What can we do to facilitate this social education and how can we accommodate children’s special needs?   This important question was address by The Adult Facilitation of Social Integration Study conducted by the University of Michigan and represents the first study of its kind focusing on children with disabilities and social development.

One important finding from this study was that children with disabilities report less conflict in their friendships when parents arrange outings with other children.  This was not true in children developing without a disability.

Please take a couple of minutes to listen to the guru of emotional intelligence and author of the book by the same name, Daniel Goleman.  He really believes in the value and importance of social education.  So think about forgetting your usual activities this weekend and instead invite some kids over to have some fun.

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Diary from a Lekotek Play Session Get the Lead Out of our Children

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