For many individuals with special needs, finding and maintaining friendships can be a challenge. Delayed social skills, communication barriers, lack of transportation and behavioral challenges are just a few of the reasons that so many struggle in this area. And it’s hard to balance the need for relationships with typically developing peers with the need for guided instruction in developing appropriate social skills.

Each situation is different, but here are some organizations that are working hard to target the unique social needs of children, teens and adults with special needs.


United Through H.O.P.E.

  • League of Friends (outings): 3rd-5th grade & 6th-12th grade

  • Allstars (social skills classes): pre-k through 12th grade

  • Future Allstars (summer camp)

  • Meet-ups: Pre-k, K-5th, middle school and high school, young adults (up to age 26)

  • Teen Talk (discussions about relevant topics): 6th-12th grade

  • Just Girl Time Please (discussions & outings): 6th-12th grade

  • Rising Stars (self-development program): ages 16-26

  • Sailing into Adulthood (life-skills program): ages 17-26

  • Centauri program (independence development): ages 16-26

Arise Missional Community - spiritual development group for adults 18+ with special needs (Bible study, service projects and fellowship events)

Austen’s Autistic Adventures - Daily opportunities for adults with special needs


  • Connecting Cool Kids: ages 3rd-8th grade with high-functioning autism/Asperger’s

  • Adults with Asperger’s Support Group

  • Teen Social Group: ages 13-18 with high-functioning autism/Asperger’s

Young Life Capernaum - branch of Young Life serving teens with special needs

Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas - social events and clubs for ages 5 & up with Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Partnership of N. Texas - Teen Scene & Book Club (teens & adults with Down Syndrome)

Best Buddies - One-to-one friendships, employment and leadership development for teens & young adults

Self-Determination Group - empowering adults with special needs to advocate & live independently

Buttons & Brownies - home skills class for adult ladies with special needs

Explorers Program - spiritual & leisure enrichment group for ages 13+

Club 321 - social club for adults with special needs

The Perfect Piece - one-on-one and group social outings

The Friendship Circle of Dallas - social outings for teens with special needs

ABA-based social skills groups: