An important aspect for students as they plan for life after high school is to have friends that share similar interests or friends they can relate to. Friends are also people that students can learn from. Friends can help with exploring different classes, programs and jobs. They can also give advice as to which adults have been helpful in their planning for their future journeys. Healthy friendships are important at all stages of life.

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Providing Opportunities To Learn About Friendships

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Helping students understand what and how healthy friendships look can be part of the transition planning process and a topic for discussion during IEP meetings. Team members can help:

  • Connect students with other students outside of school
  • Discuss how to work through challenging situations
  • Create school events that include all students
  • Teach students how to create healthy boundaries with peers
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Hear from the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN) about healthy relationships

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Looking For Friends? Consider Becoming A PYLN Member

Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN) is a network that is led and driven by inclusive organizations of youth and young adults with and without disabilities across Pennsylvania. PYLN supports students in their development of:

  • Building Healthy Partnerships
  • Acquiring Leadership Skills
  • Connecting with other students with similar interests
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The Power of Healthy Friendships

Having secure friendships:

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Boosts Happiness

There is no other joy than sharing time with friends. All students have the right to long lasting friendships and opportunities for social interaction.

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Reduces Stress

Students who understand their own bodies, rights, and experiences may find it easier to communicate their needs and have them respected by others.

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Increases Self-Confidence

Given the different skill levels and interests of students, it is important to consider adaptations and modifications so children can participate in the same activity at the same time in the same place.

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Provides a Sense of Belonging

Think about how the current interests of students can be shaped into something shared by peers. This is essential to provide maximum opportunities for friendship development and community.

Featured Resources

The PA Community on Transition offers resources on a variety of topics, all focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

Career Interested


Friendships: Building the Good Life with Our Partners at the PEAL Center



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Want to Learn PA Secondary

Want to learn more?

Check out the PA Secondary Transition Frequently Asked Questions.