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6 Reasons Every Child Should Befriend Someone With Special Needs

Apr 3 2014 - 4:32am

Having a diverse group of friends does not need to stop at race. Friendships should include people of all walks of life, abilities, and disabilities. Encouraging children to befriend a child with special needs may not only provide a wonderful benefit to a child with a disability (reason enough for encouragement), but it might also do more for your child than you may have ever imagined. So scroll on for a few ways everyone benefits from children having friendships with special-needs friends.

Source: Flickr user eyeliam [1]

Helps Them to Be More Accepting of Differences

Getting to know a child with special needs might just open your child's mind to be more accepting of individual differences, which in turn could provide them with a lifetime full of acceptance of others.

Source: Flickr user Kate Ter Haar [2]

Dispels Fears, Encourages Empathy

One study suggests that children with greater direct contact with disabled people [3] had less anxiety about them, which also resulted in better attitudes all around.

Source: Flickr user Kelley Neff [4]

Encourages Patience

Let's face it, children are not known for their patience. However, interacting and being friendly with someone who might take a little more time at doing everyday things will go a long way in teaching the fine art of patience.

Source: Flickr user Anders [5]

Teaches Them Compassion

Interacting with someone who may not have been dealt the same cards physically and mentally teaches children about compassion and what it means to overcome challenges in life — because, let's face it, everyone has to deal with challenges at some point!

Source: Flickr user eyeliam [6]

Lets Them Help

Children love to help in any way possible. Who better for them to lend a helping hand to than someone who might actually benefit from their willingness to help?

Source: Flickr user michael_t_wong [7]

They Are Led, and Will Lead, by Example

Like it or not, your child is constantly watching and reenacting your behavior. Inviting a special-needs friend over for a playdate will not only provide a wonderful example, but it may also blossom into a new friendship — and the opportunity for your child to relay to others how awesome their new friend is and why he or she should be included/invited in the future.

Source: Flickr user Ryan Tir [8]

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