Catherine Baker Simms, PhD, BCBA-D

For many of our children, missing their friends from school and missing playdates has been hard.  For those of us who are parenting children with special needs and have children who have worked specifically on developing relationships with other children, it can feel defeating to have so many months void of “practice”. Now more than ever, our children can benefit from a sense of connection with other children, and we have several ideas to share….1, 2, 3…

  1. Write good old-fashioned snail mail letters! Have your child select a friend (or three) to write a letter to.  Have them include a question and request to write back.  This helps your child practice reading, writing, and communication skills. Learning to address and stamp a letter is new for many children but an exciting skillset to add to their repertoire. Sit back and enjoy the delight when your child receives his or her first letter in the mail!
  2. FaceTime, Zoom, and many other methods exist for our children to see and talk with each other. Consider scheduling these video calls the same way we once scheduled playdates. This will give your child something to look forward to and also begins to teach them the importance of scheduling time with those they love.  This may come back to benefit us when they are older and we are wondering what they are up to off and away at college.
  3. Create a photo collage of them with their friends and family and hang it in their room. This is a great activity to do together and talk about their favorite qualities about their friends while doing so.

Remember that our language and actions impact our children, so we can model for them with our own friends, as well!  “I really miss so-and-so, I will write her a letter to surprise her!  It’s really fun to think of creative ways to stay in touch with our friends right now.”

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