Free Resources for Making Friends for Teens

Free Resources for Making Friends for Teens

Making Friends

Do you have a teenager that has difficulty making friends at school? Friendships can be difficult for some teenagers to form and then maybe even more difficult once they leave school. Making friends can sometimes be a hard skill for teens on the autism spectrum. They may have a hard time understanding how to make conversation or how to ask someone questions to get to know them better. It could be hard to find mutual interests. Or they may not even be interested in making friends. It can be hard to learn who is actually a friend and who may be someone taking advantage of you…

They may have difficulty reading body language to understand if someone is interested in what they are saying or not. They may have a hard time understanding how to work together or when playing games how to share. There are a lot of skills that go into making friends and these can be overwhelming and difficult to teach at times.

That is why we wanted to put together some FREE resources and websites for you to check out to see if they may help you and your teen with making friends. Finding meaningful friendships can have a wonderful social impact for all teens throughout their life.

Free Resources for Making Friends for Teens #friendships

Free Resouces!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement for further details. 


Check out our Free Social Situation Cards below! Feel free to download them by entering your name and email below. When you download this freebie you will also be signing up for our weekly newsletter!

Social Situations for Making Friends


We hope you find these free resources helpful on your journey to help your teen with friendships. Let us know in the comments below which freebie is your favorite or if there is anything else you would like to add!

Free Self Esteem Activities for Older Kids

Free Self Esteem Activities for Older Kids


Self-esteem is an important skill to learn, especially for teenagers and older kids to help them manage and regulate their emotions as they become adults. Helping them see themselves in a positive light will have lasting impressions on them as they get older. They will have increased confidence in their abilities and hopefully see themselves in a positive way.

Finding activities that older kids will want to participate with can be a challenge sometimes. They may not see the purpose of the activity in the moment, but these types of activities can have a long-lasting impression on their lives. That is why we found some FREE activities that you can try with older kids whether you are a parent, teacher, therapist, or professional to help you find just the right activity for your teen.

Free Self Esteem Activities for Older Kids #selfesteem #teens

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement for further details. 

FREE Self-Esteem Activities for older kids

Some of these free activities are on the website Teachers Pay Teachers where you will need to create a free account to be able to download these worksheets. Click the titles of the activities below to be taken to the free download!

Self-Esteem Activities for Secondary Life Skills Students

Self-Esteem Dice Game

Self-Esteem Activity: “I am special and unique!”

Counseling worksheet for self-esteem

Social Skills Rubrics: Self-Esteem Pack Freebie

18 Self Esteem Worksheets and Activities for Teens and Adolescents

We hope that you can find a free activity that will work for your situation. Let us know in the comments below if you found any of the activities helpful for your teen!

Looking for more amazing resources?

Check out our new ebook Making Sense of the Teen Years: A Sensory Processing Guide 



How to Help Teens with Sensory Meltdowns

How to Help Teens with Sensory Meltdowns

How to Handle Changes

Hormonal changes, new expectations, social situations, a need for independence, and emotional mood swings are all things that a teenager is experiencing. The list goes on and on. Their body is changing physically and emotionally. They are learning new skills everyday and not to mention starting middle school.

Their are higher school expectations placed them and they are starting a whole new avenue with social situations. They are starting to figure out who they are as a person and starting to rely less on parents. They are testing the boundaries to see what they can and cannot do. All of these changes can lead to some pretty emotional changes as well.

Sensory Processing Difficulties

Teenagers with sensory processing difficulties can also have new and unexpected changes. They may start to respond differently to sensory experiences, times when they would have been able to be in control, they may not be able to control as easily. They may need to be taught how to handle themselves in certain situations again. They need our love, guidance, and support. What can we do to help our teens with sensory processing difficulties calm down? Check out our FREE Calm Down Strategies Toolkit for Teens for helpful tips, tricks, and resources!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for further details. 

Sensory Meltdowns

Teenagers can still experience sensory meltdowns. What are sensory meltdowns?

A sensory meltdown is a neurological response due to their brains being wired differently and their bodies fight or flight system kicks in. When the fight response takes over we can have a sensory meltdown.

They become so overwhelmed by the situation that they may not be aware of their surroundings and may lose control. They may not even be aware of what they are doing during the meltdown.

What can we do to help them with sensory meltdowns?

SAFETY IS THE TOP PRIORITY: Do what you can to keep everyone safe in the situation. Try to have the teen move to a safe area, but if you are unable to move them, make sure the people around them are able to move away to stay safe. You may need to move objects that could potentially be thrown or turned into a weapon.

Do not try to talk to the person during the meltdown as they will be unable to respond as they may be unaware of what they are doing in the situation.

As the parent/teacher/therapist, know your boundaries lines as to what you need to do in certain situations. We would love to always be able to deescalate a sensory meltdown before it happens, but when it does happen we need to understand our roles. There is a line when a bad behavior turns into a meltdown and then when a meltdown turns into a potentially dangerous situation. If at any time you feel that you cannot keep the person, yourself, or people around you safe CALL FOR HELP.

Have an understanding: Have an understanding that the teen may not understand what is going on during a meltdown and most likely does not want to be acting this way. These situations are hard and mentally exhausting as well as physically exhausting. Be present in the situation to help keep everyone safe, but when it is over do what you need to do to mentally and physically recharge. You are most likely their biggest support system and advocate and they need you to be able to be there for them.

Check out our FREE Calm Down Strategies Toolkit for Teens for more tips on calm down strategies, sensory meltdowns, emotional self-regulation skills and coping skills!

Calm Down Strategies Toolkit for Teens #calm #sensorymeltdowns #self-regulation


Tips on How to Help your Teen with Shoe Tying

Tips on How to Help your Teen with Shoe Tying

Personal Hygiene Cares Ebook

Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom Ebook

Help your child or teen with Autism become independent with personal hygiene cares!

Shoe Tying

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link we will receive an income, but there is no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure for further details.

Shoe tying can be a tricky skill for some kids to learn and this is a skill we have been working on in our family as well. We wanted to share a video with you demonstrating two ways that my brother has been able to independently tie his shoes.

Working as an occupational therapist I work on this skill multiple times a day with kids.

Here are some tips you can use when teaching shoe tying to your kids:

-Be Patient: This is a new skill and it can take time and energy to learn a new skill

-Model the skill for them with the shoe in front of you on the table. This will be easier then having the child try to tie the shoe on their own foot.

-Provide verbal cues for the child if they forget a step

-You complete the first few steps and then the child completes the last step of the shoe tying method so that they are successful in one aspect of the skill and they can feel like they accomplished something. Or have them complete the first step and then you finish the rest of the steps of shoe tying for them.


Check out other modified methods for children and teens to become independent with shoe tying!

LOCK LACES (Elastic No Tie Shoe Laces)

New HICKIES 2.0 Performance One-Size Fits All No Tie Elastic Shoelaces

Homar No Tie Shoelaces for Kids and Adults – Best in Sports Fan Shoelaces

Free Resources for Coping Strategies for Teens

Free Resources for Coping Strategies for Teens

Coping Strategies Coping Strategies are techniques that teens can use to help them when they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated to help them feel more calm and relaxed. It is important to help teach teens how to deal with their emotions and...

Free Resources to Teach Boys about Puberty

Free Resources to Teach Boys about Puberty

Free Resources to Teach Boys about Puberty Puberty can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it is a very important concept for teens and adolescents to understand why and how their bodies are changing. Teaching teens with autism about puberty and how their body is...

Books about Sensory Processing For Teens

Books about Sensory Processing For Teens

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for further details.  Books about Sensory Processing For Teens As a family, we know that it can be difficult to find books and resources about sensory processing for teens. there just isn't a lot...

Is My Teen with Autism Ready for Dating?

Is My Teen with Autism Ready for Dating?

Teens with Autism and Dating

Thinking about your teen dating can be scary for some parents, but we want to help make this process a little easier for you. Navigating the social aspects of dating can be difficult for teens with autism. Just like many other social skills many individuals may need to be taught specific skills to help them with dating. Dating can be a complex skill to learn.

Always listen to your teen and watch for their desire to want to date. Always go off of what your teen is telling you and showing you. Don’t force your teen to do something if they are not interested or don’t want to do it. Everyone has their own preferences and show interest in dating at different times in their lives.

Is My Teen with Autism Ready for Dating #autism #dating #teen #socialskills

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but we may earn a commission. Please see our disclosure statement for further details. 

How can you tell if your teen is ready for dating?

All teens develop at different rates and have different interests in dating. Follow your teens lead, if you see that they are showing interest or asking you questions about dating help them through this complex situation. Pay attention to their nonverbal behaviors as well to help you decide if they are interested in dating.

Physical Maturity

A teen’s social maturity may not be the same as their physical maturity. Some teens may feel the physical desire for dating and sexuality before the social competence for dating. If your teen is asking you questions about their physical appearance/changes and their desire for sexuality be open to talk with them about these topics. Talk to your teen in a way that makes sense to them. If they learn best through direct concrete answers or through pictures/videos, help provide these opportunities for them to learn about the changes in their bodies.

Be Proactive and have Open Dialogue with your Teen about Dating and Sexuality

Sex and dating are very complex social situations. If you think your teen may be sexually active or dealing with opportunities for sexual activity don’t delay these conversations. It is important that we can protect your teen as best as you can from getting into unsafe situations. It is crucial to talk about safe sex and helping them to understand how pregnancy can occur. If you feel uncomfortable about talking about these situations with your teen is there someone you can reach out to for help? You could reach out to your teen’s doctor especially if you have concerns about health related questions.

Provide role playing opportunities to practice dating situations

One way to practice some of the complex social situations involved with dating would be to role play common situations. You could also try social stories, social scripts, modeling appropriate behaviors, video modeling, or an acting class. Social situations that you could role play and talk about for dating could be:

  • how to compliment
  • how to show interest in someone
  • how to talk with a peer you like
  • how to read nonverbal behavior
  • when to smile
  • how to use good manners
  • how to be respectful of another person
  • how to show affection
  • appropriate physical touch
  • how to stay safe
  • conflict resolution
  • safety in public areas

Have open conversations about how to stay safe with dating

We want to do whatever we can to help our teen stay safe and not get taken advantage of in this complex social situation. Discuss who, when, where, and how to ask someone out.

  • Who is appropriate for you to ask out?
    • Someone around your age
    • who shows interest in you
    • is nice to you
    • talks to you
    • someone you like
  • When is it appropriate to ask someone out?
    • After you have gotten to know someone better
    • When you have noticed that you both seem to be interested in each other
  • Where is it appropriate to ask someone out?
    • Usually in a more private setting when not a lot of people are around
    • typically it is best to do it in person, but you can also call someone on the phone.
    • Texting may not be as a personal way to ask someone out
  • How do you ask someone out?
    • in person you can ask if they are free at a certain time that you could go to a place of mutual interest
    • make sure to get contact information to confirm the date, time, and location ahead of time
  • How do you show appropriate touch during a date?
    • Make sure to talk about safe and appropriate physical touch
      • talk about how to hold hands, give a hug, or a kiss
      • talk about inappropriate types of physical touch and how to read body cues and signs of how someone may like or not like the type of touch.
  • Discuss different levels of intimacy
    • Help them understand the difference between hand holding, hugging, kissing, and more intimate types of touching to help them stay safe.
  • Talk about the steps/routine of a typical date
    • Make sure your teen knows when and where the date will take place
    • how they will get to the location
    • what they may do at the location (dinner, movie, bowling, party)
  • Help them understand appropriate personal hygiene cares and dressing skills

Dating is a complex social situation

We need to remember that dating is complex and overwhelming social situation. This may cause our teen frustration, anxiety, fear, or anger. Please be aware of how your teen is feeling about dating and be ready to help them through this situation as it pertains to them. Help them understand that rejection may also be apart of dating and how to help them through this as well. Help them understand that someone may not be interested in them even though they are interested. Or that someone may be too busy to date. It can be impossible to understand why someone may not be interested in you and this could be a hard skill for some teens to cope with.

Dating can be a positive situation and we need to stay proactive and help our teens through these unique situations. The more we can support our teen’s desires for dating and have open dialogue about the social situations it can be seen as a rewarding and positive experience.

Teens and Dating Social Situation Cards #dating #socialskills #autism #teens

Do you have further questions about dating? We would love to hear your advice and comments below.

Resources you will love!

Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom

Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills Ebook #lifeskills #personalhygieneskills #autism





Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More


The 10 Myths of Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future

Dating Smarts – What Every Teen Needs To Date, Relate Or Wait

Will My Teen with Autism Live on their Own?

Will My Teen with Autism Live on their Own?

Will My Teen with Autism Live on their Own?

This is a question we ask ourselves for our own family, but I hear this question all of the time as an occupational therapist, from parents of teens and children with autism. We hear you and we understand the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that you are feeling. We are constantly thinking about the future and we try to picture what that future may look for my teenage brother. Our minds are thinking and turning and trying our best to predict the future for him, but in reality we cannot figure out what the future will hold. We never know what the future will bring, but we are trying our best to help prepare him. We are trying to guess if he will be able to live on his own.

The autism spectrum is extremely variable and every person has unique strengths. Every person is unique and it is impossible to determine what the future will hold for any person. We take it day by day and help my brother learn valuable skills each day.

Will My Teen with Autism Live on their Own #autism #lifeskills #independence #teen

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link I may receive a small commission, but there is no cost for you. Please see our disclosure for further information. 

Parents, you are doing the best that you can

Here are 5 statements to remember each day, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed.

1. Remember to Breathe

When you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious remember to take a step back and breathe. You may not know the answers, but you won’t be better at figuring out a solution when you are all worked up and anxious.

2. Let go of what you can’t control

There are so many things in our lives that we cannot control. I know I am someone that tries to control as much as I can, but I realize that I need to let go and trust the process.

3. Seek out help when you need it

You can’t do it all on your own. Seek our help from family, friends, or professionals to help provide you with support and resources to help your family.

4. Love your Child/Teenager

Never forget what is most important in your life. Enjoy the moment now with your teen. Don’t get caught up thinking so much about the future that you forget to savor the moment you are in now. This is still a great time in their life and you want to be able to present now as well. Love your teenager for who they are.

5. Remember to take care of yourself

If you are overworked and overwhelmed constantly, you won’t be able to provide the best care for your teen. Find ways to take time for yourself and find activities that you enjoy and can recharge your own energy. The better we feel, the more we can do for our family.

We Never Know what the Future will be like for our Teens

We cannot predict the future, but we can take steps each day to help our loved one learn valuable skills. We can also be present with them and love them for who they are. I don’t want you to get so caught up with wanting to “change” your teen or make them conform to what society tells us is “normal”. Embrace your teen for who they are and help embrace their strengths. Find out what motivates them and what makes them happy. We can do so much for our teens if we can help guide them to find their passions.

Finding their Passions can help guide them into their future as an adult.

Every person seeks out to find their passions and what brings them purpose in life. I want to be able to wake up every day and be happy with who I am as a person and do meaningful work each day. This idea looks so different for each of us. Helping your teen to find what makes them happy and what brings them meaning can help them as they transition into adulthood.

I would love to hear what your passions are in the comments below. What are things that make you happy each day?

If you are looking for more ideas on specific skills to help your teen as they transition into adulthood check out our list of life skills below.

life skills checklist #lifeskills #autism #teens

Other Resources you will LOVE!

Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills Ebook #lifeskills #personalhygieneskills #autism





Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom Ebook 

The Useful Book: 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop


Life Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs 

Life Skills 101: A Practical Guide to Leaving Home and Living on Your Own