Everyone wants to have friends. I remember moving back home to Princeton in 2013. My boys were in middle school. They had a big group of friends in Kentucky where they lived most of their childhood; but the transition to Princeton wasn't a transition that led to many friendships for either of my young boys. It was heartbreaking watching my kind boys feeling alone and awkward.

98.1 Minnesota's New Country logo
Get our free mobile app


My middle son Tanner is on the autism spectrum, and was actually very outgoing in attempting to make friends. Luckily, he was successful meeting people in high school that had mutual interests through a video game club in school. He still gets together with many of the boys he met in high school at these events, and I'm so grateful that he made that connection. My youngest maintained his friendships in Kentucky.

That being said, looking at all of my children's experience in school, and even my own, I started thinking about other kids that may have a disability that never get to experience these important friendships. Things that I didn't even consider when I was a kid myself.

I was super excited when I saw this post this morning on The Princeton Bulletin Board. Blue Dog Studios in Zimmerman is recognizing the need for young teens to make those connections, and is doing something about it.


This individual works as a PCA for some local teens, and says that she has realized how hard it is for special needs pre-teens and teens to make friends, and has decided to hold a once a month 2 hour "Hang Out" for $10 at her home studio specifically for special needs kids ages 12-17.

She is planning on having a dance party in the studio, and a café area indoors where kids can buy soda, water, and snacks, and sit with friends. They will also have the opportunity to just chill, and play age appropriate video games with their peers, or just hang out on the back patio. What a great idea!

She is going to have two adult chaperones, and PCA's and parent volunteers are welcome to come.

The first May Hang Out will be Friday, May 14th from 7:30-9:30 pm. To come to this event, registration is required. You can sign up by clicking HERE.  Follow these instructions:

  • Click classes
  • Scroll to bottom of page
  • Click book class
  • When classes come up, keep clicking “more times” until you get to Friday May 14th.
  • Click “Special Needs Hang out”
  • Register and pay!

My challenge to you; if you have young children; sit down and have a conversation with them about including kids with disabilities in their friendships. Without you making a point to explain things, your kids may not know how to approach someone with disabilities. They may not understand the circumstances, or be threatened by the differences.

These kids could be the best friends your child ever has; and by talking about it, you can educate your kids; letting them know  just how awesome they are; and deserve to be included. You can teach your children to understand real life, and help children develop confidence.


LOOK: Milestones in women's history from the year you were born

Women have left marks on everything from entertainment and music to space exploration, athletics, and technology. Each passing year and new milestone makes it clear both how recent this history-making is in relation to the rest of the country, as well as how far we still need to go. The resulting timeline shows that women are constantly making history worthy of best-selling biographies and classroom textbooks; someone just needs to write about them.

Scroll through to find out when women in the U.S. and around the world won rights, the names of women who shattered the glass ceiling, and which country's women banded together to end a civil war.

More From 98.1 Minnesota's New Country