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Making Friends and Developing Social Skills

Friendships are very important to children and youth who are deaf-blind, just as they are for any individual.

A boy who is deaf-blind is at a bowling alley with two girls. They have their arms around each other and are smiling.

They "support self-esteem, mental health, and social competence," and help minimize loneliness and social isolation. Developing and sustaining friendships, however, can be challenging. Potential friends may not be sure what the child who is deaf-blind has to offer to a relationship or may prefer to spend time with others with whom they can interact more easily. (Hartshorne & Schmittel, 2016, p. 446)

It is not enough to simply place children with deaf-blindness in classrooms with their nondisabled peers. In order for them to make friends, parents and teachers may need to help children find ways to interact with one another and provide support for interactions to occur. (Colorado Services to Children with Deafblindness, 2009).

Maurice Belote explains the importance of social skills for school and post-school success.

References

Colorado Services to Children with Deafblindness. (rev. 2009). Fact Sheet: Facilitating friendships and interactions.

Hartshorne, T. S., & Schmittel, M. C. (2016). Social-emotional development in children and youth who are deafblind. American Annals of the Deaf, 161(4), 444-453.

Etmanski, Al. (2012). PLAN: Al Etmanski talks about PLAN networks.