Social Development

Building Friendships


At Dearborn Academy we recognize the value of meaningful friendships. Friendships are critical to a student’s successful school experience. Humans are social beings — we all need people to trust, share ideas with, and with whom to experience the many dimensions of friendship. Friends are key to both academic success and happiness. Helping students create and maintain healthy social relationships is central to our work at Dearborn.


Social Skill Development


Some students with social challenges resulting from diagnosed communication disorders need extra help to make friends. Friendships are complex and need attention and nurturance. Students who need help receive feedback and support from all staff to notice what friends need and explore the sometimes opaque nuances of communication – including in the world of social media. Speech and language pathologists and clinicians support the development of pragmatic skills in the classrooms and throughout the milieu. Our mission is to not only help students build the skills to have healthy social interactions, but support them in transferring those skills into real world situations throughout their day at school. 


When communication challenges inevitably arise, students are reminded that all friendships – indeed all relationships – have ups and downs, and are supported to use the structure of restorative practices.