Friendships enhance our lives; in fact, studies show they even extend our lives. This is important whether you have a disability or not, but we recognise that they can be especially challenging for people with cerebral palsy. There are several reasons for this, including difficulty communicating or socialising, limited opportunities to meet new people, and barriers in social situations.

2 people having a drink in a pub

However, it is possible to make friends with cerebral palsy. Here are some tips.

Tips on making friends

  • Get involved in activities you enjoy. This is a great way to meet people who share your interests. There are many different activities that are accessible to people with cerebral palsy, such as sports, clubs, and arts and crafts.
  • Volunteering: This is a great way to meet new people and make a difference in your community. There are many different volunteer opportunities available, so you should be able to find one that interests you.
  • Support groups: Support groups can be a great way to meet people who understand what you’re going through.
  • Special interest groups: There are a number of special interest groups for people with CP, such as sports teams, dance groups, and book clubs.
  • Use online resources: There are a number of online forums and social media groups where you can connect with other people with cerebral palsy. This can be a great way to make friends and find support.
  • Reach out to your friends and family: Let them know that you are looking for friends, and ask them to help you connect with people. They may be able to introduce you to their friends or family members, or they may know of groups or activities that you could join.

Some of the benefits of having friends

  • Learning new skills and hobbies with likeminded people.
  • Sharing opportunities.
  • Comfort and support.
  • Reduced isolation and loneliness.
  • Improved mental and physical health.

Coping with social situations

Navigating social situations can be eased with a few simple strategies. Preparation is crucial; if attending a social event, consider what might enhance your comfort and enable participation. This could range from bringing along a wheelchair or communication device to having a friend to assist in navigating the environment. Communication is also key; don’t hesitate to express your needs. Many people are willing to help when they understand what’s required.

Importantly, remember to be yourself in these social interactions. If you are relaxed and having fun, other people will be more likely to enjoy your company.

People enjoying a party

Being a good friend is just as vital as having them. True friendship is a two-way street, characterised by support, active listening, and being present for others when they need you. If forming friendships poses a challenge, various resources exist to assist you. Health and social care professionals such as doctors, therapists, and social workers can provide guidance. Numerous online resources and support groups are also available.


Midweek Matters Speaker Session on Friendship, with Sarah Stones:


Scarlett Murray is a 22 year-old mother of one, and a talented writer who blogs about her experiences of living with Cerebral Palsy. Her form of CP is left-sided hemiphlegia. She tells us her story.

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Young woman with little girl (Scarlett Murray and daughter)

Clive Gilbert is a leading policy expert on assistive technology for disabled people, drawing in part, on his own experiences living with Cerebral Palsy. He tells us his story.

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Man using assistive technology (Clive Gilbert)