One of the hardest things for me, as the father of a child with Autism, is trying to understand how my son relates to the other children around him.
Now, the Monster loves other people. For having a disorder that causes so many problems with communications with other people, he certainly adores being around certain people – he loves his little brother, and his family, and there are people who he develops attachments to. But ask him who his friends at school are, and he’s not able to give you a real response.
And yet, for some reason, we keep hearing about how all the kids around him love him, at least second-hand.
So far this year, things seem to be going well at school – he’s charted green every day this week behaviorally, and we’ve yet to hear from the teacher or school of any disruptive behavior in the classroom. The OT did put a theraband on his chair yesterday so that he can stim himself while he’s sitting, but that was preventative and not due to anything that we’ve heard about.
On the other hand, there’s also time where they sit as a group on the carpet, and we’ve heard about how his classmates steer him to his spot if he drifts away from it. It’s not that much different than when he was at GHEMS and other students helped the teacher to keep him on-track or with calling attention to his needs. Or how there was at least one child at his “Sunday Funday Everday” week of camp who absolutely adored having him around.
I would love if he, himself, could tell me about who is in his class, who he’s friends with. Who he plays with at recess or who he sits next to on the bus to/from school. It would make it easier to see that there are things happening in his life, outside of the house, that show that he’s developing his social skills. (Or, indeed, that he’s actually learning how to ‘make friends’, much less learning the definition/connotation of ‘friend’.) I can only hope that such a thing happens eventually…
I hope that happens for you and your son as well. I am so glad to hear how helpful the teachers and the other students have been. There are too many nightmare stories about children with ASD and other special needs being bullied and mistreated by both teachers and classmates because they do not understand, or do not know how to deal with their needs. We have gone through some of those situations ourselves. We are now homeschooling, not because we did not try, but because we decided that his emotional well being was more important to us. Although we did eventually find a school whose teachers were very understanding and helpful, our son refused to go because the classroom setting was causing him sensory overload. We are blessed that he has 3 therapists that take him out in public to help him with the socialization he needs, and we take him out as often as we can (when he is willing). I cannot wait for the day our son brings home a new friend, someone who understands him, and I hope the same for you. It will happen!