The Friendship Factor is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 88-0835432).
The Friendship Factor was founded on the simple premise that we all need friends. The role friendships play throughout our lives is important, multi-faceted and profound. All children need friends for support, stimulation, companionship, to build confidence, self-esteem and develop relationships that prepare them for life.
Yet many children with developmental disabilities grow up excluded from the web of membership and connections that define community life, their social universe limited to interaction primarily with their family and the sphere of “specialized services.” Research shows a friendship between special-needs children and abled peers’ benefits both.
We are building a community that recognizes the central importance of friendships and connections in ALL our lives.
Our program is most effective when we work together, parent(s), families, kids, schools, and communities. Adopting an immersive and consistent approach, year-round, designed to encourage long-term social emotional development for children with and without disabilities.
No complex psychological theories are necessary. The message is a single one: friendships are what matter most—whatever labels we have been given, however awkward our needs.
“Where friendships are fostered."
Our Program Module
What makes us different?
PLAY it FORWARD
Play is a necessary ingredient for individual and communal balance. Beyond enabling us to better deal with individual and social requirements, it provides us with adaptive flexibilities, and openness to explore the unexpected. By equipping children of all abilities with inclusive, natural, and sensory environments, and the skills to play together more independently, children feel nurtured, encouraged, respected and active during play-both physically and socially-thereby
creating a sense of harmony and community among themselves.
SNACK and CHAT
Food brings us together; it shapes our memories and empowers our communities. Eating together provides a multitude of benefits such as being more mindful of what we are eating, preparation, and more openness to new foods outside of our comfort zone. Allowing for opportunity to bond with others over a pleasurable event and creating a sense of belonging and
connection with a focus on enjoying each other’s company.
CIRCLE of FRIENDS
A meaningful, exciting, and fresh method for inclusion. It works by creating the intention to build relationships around the persons who are vulnerable to exclusion because of their disability, behaviors, or difference. Similar skills and techniques to that of “Circle Time” are employed to promote important social interaction among a small group of children, facilitated by a compassionate adult. Engaging storytelling, art projects, sharing life events, presents opportunity for a range of developmental skills to be explored through group participation and peer exchange of ideas and support.
RELAX and RESET
Understanding the value of calm with so much going on, has become quite crucial to a child’s ability to cope, especially those who may suffer from over-stimulation. We practice mindfulness that utilizes visualization, affirmations, rhythmic music, and breathing techniques, allowing the children to have a little time to spend with themselves and explore an inner world of peace, tranquility, and reflection. By teaching kids to decompress and be mindful, we are empowering them with tools they need to cope with stress and challenging moments, but also to reflect and cherish good times and joyful memories.
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