Any parent of a child with Autism worries that their child may be a loner. I think that is a pretty realistic worry because for the most part, kids with autism have a difficult time forming bonds and understanding the ‘in’s’ and ‘outs’ of forming friendships. That does not mean for a minute that your child does not seek friendship. They will. It is a basic human need to have companionship and to be accepted. Your child is no different. The difference is you will have to approach it in a different way.
That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It means it will be hard and frustrating and maybe a little awkward (ok a lot) and uncomfortable a little to watch as a parent for your heart will ache a little as your child struggles to find his or her way.
I know first hand the heartache of watching your child struggle to make friends. I’ve seen my son move a bit too closely to someone, say something a little but ‘weird’ in order to engage someone and then stand there staring until he gets a response…sometimes wanting a response to a comment that makes no logical sense to respond to. It is hard to stand at the sideline and hope that the kid or adult sees how important it is to answer kindly or at all. To not laugh, even though it seems like the right time to, to not ask “what the heck is with this kid??”
Sometimes, the result is unfavorable and I grieve for my sons failure. I hope that he doesn’t feel the rejection as he simply moves on and looks to someone else to talk to.
Yesterday marked the beginning of Christmas holidays at school and as I cleared the table and filled the sink with soapy water I went through Lincolns school bag finding notes from his teachers and cards from little friends. Then, I found this:
The little boy that gave this gift (it had been unwrapped at school) has been in Lincolns class since the days I sat there with him. He is a soft spoken and kind, with deep emploring eyes that show his gentle spirit. I often spoke with him in Sk classes and was asked to play a game of cards or puzzles with him at game time. He has become a good friend to my son and I know when I send a thank you e-mail I will hear that Dylan insisted to get this gift for LIncoln because he knows that Lincoln would love it! (Lincoln loves dinosaurs like many ASD kids do) His class friends know all his likes. (I remember how on his birthday one Mom noted that her son said they had to find Linc a ‘Giant Squid’ as his current obsession was Aquatica. Like that wasn’t going to be a challenge!!)
The confidence we gain from sharing with a good friend is priceless. If I may wish you anything for 2013 it is that your child find a wonderful friend just like my sons to enjoy life with. Our blessings are great.
Happy Holidays!! Merry christmas! And do count your blessings, for they are many.